Five thoughts on Utah’s 21-7 loss to Oregon State Saturday night:
1. Brian Johnson’s playcalling was awful. Really no other way to say it. For the second straight game Johnson failed to call a play for either John White or Kelvin York at the goal line. Instead he dialed up two quarterback runs followed by a pitch end around that resulted in a fumble and essentially killed any chance of winning. A touchdown there and it would have been tied 14-14. Instead all momentum was lost. Add in quarterback draws that were called on third and long that never worked to a run call on a third and five to set up a field goal that was of course missed because Coleman Peterson is awful. Plus a late run call on third and ten and it’s becoming clear that Johnson is in over his head.
2. Turnovers and penalties. If you would just look at these stats who would you think won the game?
-Total yards: Utah 307 Oregon State 227
-Rushing yards: Utah 135 Oregon State 53
-Passing yards: Utah 172 Oregon State 174
-Time of possession: Utah 34:28 Oregon State 25:32
Yep you would say Utah would have won. However add in the fact the Utes had four turnovers to the Beavers none and seven penalties to OSU’s five and you see the difference in the game. Unfortunately for Utah this has been an all too familiar story this season.
3. Travis Wilson is a freshman. Ute fans will have to accept that. And what that means there will be growing pains such as the interception he threw or the fumble that led to two Oregon State touchdowns. At the same time you saw glimpses of hope including the strike he threw to Jake Murphy for the Utes only touchdown. The goal for Ute fans is you see more good than bad as the season progresses. At least then you’ll have something to look forward to next season.
4. Where are the playmakers? DeVonte Christopher was supposed to have a big year. But clearly he’s lost. If I was the coaching staff he wouldn’t play another game the rest of the year. On the defensive side of the ball Brian Blechen has been absolutely awful. Since serving his suspension he’s been a non-factor except in a bad way. That includes the helmet to helmet hit late in the game on a third and 13 that led to Oregon State’s third touchdown. In the end you have to feel for Utah’s only true “star” Star Lotulelei who is experiencing a wasted season.
5. You are you’re record. The Utes are 2-5. No more talk about the talent this team supposedly has. How they’re underachieving etc. They’re a bad football team. They’re undisciplined, unfocused, and unmotivated. They play like their season is already over. And this falls squarely on the head coach. Kyle Whittingham is the man responsible for the recruiting direction of this program. He is the one that hired a 25 year old to be offensive coordinator that clearly wasn’t qualified for the position. And ultimately he is the one responsible for a team that most likely will fail to make a bowl game for the first time since in nine years.