Utah vs Pitt Player Grades

Grading all of the Utah starters and a few of the reserves...

QB Jordan Wynn- C+
Was very effective in the first half, but the interception was inexcusable. Still trying to force the ball at times when he should throw it away. Didn't react well to the blitz, which is something they'll definitely work on for next week. Wrist injury definitely affected him in the second half.

RB Matt Asiata- B-
Ran with power and overwhelmed Pitt with in overtime with 4 and 5 yard runs.
RB Eddie Wide- B
Didn't have the carries I anticipated with only 9, but made the most of them including a 21 yarder on which he looked like Tommy Frazier in the 1995 National Championship Game and added 4 catches.
FB Shawn Asiata- B+
No carries, but was as battering ram for his older brother, driving would be tacklers back.

WR Shaky Smithson- F
2 fumbles the first two times he touched the ball and was yanked from both receiving duties and from returning kicks. Got back in the game later to return kicks, but didn't get another shot. Bad start for Shaky, he'll rebound. His fumbles did give an opportunity to…
WR DeVonte Christopher- A+
Looked like the dominant number 1 receiver many have projected him to be. Was catching balls all over the field and his catch and run for the touchdown from 61 yards out. 8 catches for 155 yards. Finally.
WR Jereme Brooks- A
Was slowed in the second half, which opened things up for Christopher, but was great in the first half with two touchdowns. Was unstoppable over the middle.
WR Luke Matthews- D
Was mostly non-existent all night with only 1 catch for 4 yards. Needs to step up going forward.

RT Tony Bergstrom- B+
Had an uncharacteristic holding call, but held All American candidate Jabaal Sheard in check. The Utes had more success running to the right behind Bergstrom, than they did to the left.
RG Tevita Stevens- B
Solid, but not spectacular. Stevens wasn't tested much by the interior of the Pitt D-line.
C Zane Taylor- C
A false start inside the five yard line really hurt a drive that could have put the game away, instead resulting in a turnover. Maybe this is a low grade for Taylor, but I can't get past the false start.
LG Caleb Schlauderaff- B+
Handled his own and paved the way for a lot of Matt Asiata runs to left. Like Stevens, very solid.
LT John Cullen- A
Shut down one of the best defensive ends in the country. Didn't allow Romeus to get a hand on Wynn all night. Great first game as a Ute.

DT Sealver Siliga- A+
He wasn't Ndamokung Suh against Texas last year, but he was dominant, and the best player on the field. Siliga blew up the interior of the offensive line time and time again,
DT Dave Kruger- B
Overshadowed by Siliga he was also a disruptive force and kept Lewis contained.
DT Latu Heimuli- B+
In the limited time he was in had a sack and tackle for loss. Great debut.

DE Christian Cox- B+
Had six tackles, including one for a loss and was a force coming off the end. Tremendous energy.
DE Junior Tui'one- B
Had a sack and the most consistent pressure on Sunseri.
DE Derick Shelby- C
Didn't get the time or make the impact that I anticipated, but did get meaningful reps in the third and fourth quarters.

LB Chaz Walker- A
More than filled in for J.J. Williams and was the star of the linebacking corp tonight. I owe Walker an apology as I thought Williams' absence would mean big yards for Lewis.
LBChad Manis- B+
Manis played the entire game and was effective. Had a great knockdown on a pass that, if he had been a step quicker, could have been a pick 6.
LB Matt Martinez- C+
Struggle getting off blocks and staying in his gaps in the first quarter, but improved as the game went on.

SS Brian Blechen- A+
Grade probably would have been a B until the interception, but big time players make big time plays and Blechen is already starting to turn into a big time player. He did a great job shadowing Baldwin for the first three quarters.
FS Justin Taplin-Ross- B
Pitt had trouble throwing the ball deep for the first three quarters and Tap Tap was a big part of that. The touchdown to Baldwin was a blown assignment by both him and Burton so he can't by held solely responsible.

CB Brandon Burton- B
Looked like the best corner in the country for three quarters holding Baldwin to 2 catches for 8 yards. Then got lit up like a Christmas tree on one drive including a blown assignment on the long touchdown. Eliminate that play and Burton easily gets an A.
CB Lamar Chapman- B-
Shanahan had 4 catches for 51 yards, but nothing longer than 19. Good job of keeping the big kid in front of him, but they didn't throw his way a lot.

P Sean Sellwood- D
Sellwood was bombing punts and had a great kick into the corner on one punt to pin Pitt deep, but the blocked punt, and there easily could have been a second one, was mostly his fault as he held the ball way too long. The 25 yarder in the fourth could have cost the Utes the game.

K Joe Phillips- A+
Made the game winning kick in overtime and was 2-2 on the game to go along with 3-3 on extra points. Was awarded one of two game balls by Kyle Whittingham. Great start to the season for Phillips after the tough events of the summer in losing a child.

Team GPA- 2.66 C

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