Tempe, Ariz. • Utah’s resounding victory over UCLA to conclude October naturally performed right into a theme of the Utes’ coming again to the Rose Bowl in January as Pac-12 champions.
The Utes’ 38-20 loss at Arizona State and junior quarterback Tyler Huntley’s season-ending collarbone harm Saturday created one other potential return journey in December, amid the fact that the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix does not include a parade.
The sequence of occasions that ended their QB’s 12 months, their four-game successful streak and their command of the Pac-12 South race left the Utes dealing with two main questions: How massive is the dropoff from Huntley to Jason Shelley? How far may Utah fall within the Pac-12′s bowl construction?
The solutions will come quickly sufficient. Utah (6-Three, Four-Three Pac-12) finishes the common season with convention video games Saturday vs. Oregon and Nov. 17 at Colorado, adopted by BYU’s go to Nov. 24.
The South stays muddled, after a weekend when Utah may have made issues fairly clear for itself. “This one hurts,” Ute linebacker Chase Hansen stated, “however we have got two video games [left] and it is nonetheless in our fingers.”
No, it’s not. Utah wants two wins, plus assist from one among Arizona State’s opponents: UCLA, Oregon or Arizona. The larger subject is whether or not the Utes can regroup sufficiently behind Shelley. ESPN’s Soccer Energy Index offers Utah a 75-percent likelihood of successful every convention sport, however these calculations are primarily based on previous efficiency, not contemplating any crew’s personnel.
Shelley changed Huntley late within the third quarter and led a drive to a discipline aim that made it 21-20, however then he directed two three-and-out collection as ASU took management. He had appeared in three earlier video games, by no means with the result doubtful.
Shelley has performed on massive levels, notably the Texas Class 5A state championship sport as a Lone Star Excessive Faculty junior. He’s additionally ok to have overwhelmed out the extremely recruited Jack Tuttle for Utah’s backup job, previous to Tuttle’s departure in mid-October. That’s about all anybody can say about his credentials, apart from coach Kyle Whittingham’s endorsing Shelley’s “full command of the offense.”
Utah is bowl-eligible. But when the Utes find yourself Four-5 in convention play, they might fall into the Pac-12′s decrease tier of bowls. That may be a giant letdown, and that’s why this month will probably be much more fascinating than Utah’s previous Novembers.
Oregon at UtahSaturday, Three:30 p.m.TV: Pac-12 Networks.
• Zack Moss will probably be wanted greater than ever. In what appears prone to be his final school season, the junior operating again is nearing 1,100 yards and stays on observe to interrupt Utah’s season and profession dashing data. He’ll be particularly very important this month, with an inexperienced quarterback. The problem for Moss and Utah’s offensive line is that defenses will probably be geared to cease him, to a fair larger diploma.
• Utah’s secondary was disappointing. Whittingham was extra essential of Utah’s run-stopping failures, and it’s true there’s no different Pac-12 receiver like ASU’s N’Keal Harry. But the Solar Devils’ passing sport was far too efficient towards a Ute secondary that desires to be often known as the very best at school historical past. Manny Wilkins went 19 of 24 for 285 yards with one interception (Jaylon Johnson’s third of the season) and ASU had two 100-yard receivers.
• The November curse is actual. The late-season chill struck Utah on a 79-degree afternoon. The Utes’ Pac-12 successful share is traditionally about the identical in October, however Huntley’s harm suits the notion that dangerous issues occur to this program in November. And subtracting 5 wins over last-place Colorado groups, Utah is Eight-14 in November within the Pac-12 period.
Harry. He is a reminder that expertise wins in these competitions. Harry caught 9 passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns, and seemingly was there every time ASU wanted him.
Runner-up: Moss. The Utes ran solely 58 performs, partly explaining his restricted carries (18) for 128 yards. ASU made it tough for him at instances, however he broke off runs of 17, 19 and 27 yards. Moss summarized the offense’s day as “caught rhythm, misplaced rhythm; caught rhythm, misplaced rhythm.”
Harry’s 61-yard landing catch on the primary play of the fourth quarter. Even with Huntley sidelined, the Utes had an opportunity, trailing 21-20. However Harry caught a go over the center and weaved to the top zone in simply the type of game-changing play that Utah’s coaches feared he would make.
Runner-up: Huntley’s 5-yard TD go to Samson Nacua, giving Utah a 17-14 lead after having trailed 14-Zero. Huntley confirmed good contact, with Nacua vast open. The unhappiness is twofold, although: The Utes’ solely lead of the sport was short-term, and that go will stand as Huntley’s final landing of the season. Utah’s passing sport was not sharp Saturday, however Huntley deserves credit score for a memorable October.
Senior middle Lo Falemaka returned as a reserve after a lacking all of October with a leg harm. Junior linebacker Francis Bernard received his most taking part in time of the season and was concerned in 5 tackles, together with a solo sort out for loss.
As soon as ranked No. 12 within the AP High 25 after beating Washington, Oregon (6-Three, Three-Three) has light. However the Geese topped UCLA 42-21 on Saturday and have a quarterback-receiver tandem that ought to hassle Utah. Dillon Mitchell caught eight of Justin Herbert’s passes for 156 yards. The encouraging half for Utah is Oregon gave up 161 yards dashing to UCLA’s Joshua Kelley.