Three thoughts on the Utah Utes 38-28 loss to the USC Trojans:
1. Utah’s mistakes and missed opportunities killed them. Here are several examples:
-Star Lotulelei was called for a facemask that kept a USC drive alive leading to the first touchdown.
-Brian Blechen drops a sure interception in the end zone. The Trojans end up with a field goal to close the gap to 14-10.
-With the Utes leading 21-10, Nate Fakahafua was called for a roughing the passer penalty that led to another USC touchdown.
-Dallin Rogers fumbles on the Utes 34 yard line that leads to a Matt Barkley touchdown pass as the Trojans gained the lead for good 24-21.
-Siasi Aiono was an ineligible receiver downfield that brought back the double-reverse touchdown pass from Jon Hays to Kenneth Scott that would have given Utah the lead.
-Hays awful pick-six pass he threw in the fourth quarter that secured the Trojans win.
So who is to blame for all these mistakes? The players? The coaches? Both? Ding, ding, ding. The players lack the discipline and talent to play mistake free football. And obviously the coaches are to blame because clearly what they’re preaching is not being heard.
2. The Utes lacked the ability to put pressure on Barkley. Led by Star Lotulelei they jumped all over USC early with intimidating pressure. By the second quarter it was nonexistent. That allowed Barkley to get in a complete rhythm and completely shred the Utah defense. That also allowed the run game with Silas Redd to pound a Ute defense that had issues tackling. The Utes defensive backs couldn’t stick with Marqise Lee and Robert Woods. It also didn’t help that Blechen continues to play in a fog failing to help in coverage. The defense clearly got tired and that leads to the offense…
3. The offense is below average. There is no continuity. There is no identity. Obviously offensive coordinator Brian Johnson deserves some criticism. While he did implement some new plays he clearly is still trying to get a handle on the job and became too conservative and predictable as the game went along. It doesn’t help his cause with the lack of talent on the offensive line and at quarterback. Hays just isn’t going to take you anywhere. At this point you might as well start the freshman Travis Wilson. He may not be ready but what do you have to lose? The way the Utes are playing it’s a strong possibility they won’t even make a bowl game.