Utah made a statement at Oregon on Saturday night and did so emphatically.
The 18th-ranked Utes traveled to Eugene and completely demolished the No. 13 Ducks in a 62-20 win. It was a complete performance from Utah on offense, defense and special teams.
Senior quarterback Travis Wilson, who was dealing with a shoulder sprain, led the way for the Utes, combining for 337 total yards (227 passing, 100 rushing) and five touchdowns – four through the air and one on the ground. On the whole, the Utah offense racked up 530 yards and at one point scored on eight consecutive possessions.
Meanwhile, Utah’s stout defense forced three punts on Oregon’s first three possessions and also caused three turnovers. Overall the Utes limited Oregon’s high-powered offense to only 20 points – 30 fewer than the team’s season average.
On top of that, the Utes added a highlight-reel punt return touchdown reminiscent of a decoy play used by the St. Louis Rams last season. As Oregon punted, Utah’s usual punt returner, Britain Covey, sprinted in the opposite direction of the ball and pretended he was about to field the punt. Most of the Oregon players fell for it, allowing Boobie Hobbs to easily return the kick 69 yards for a touchdown down the other sideline.
The punt return touchdown put the bow on top of a spectacular performance for the Utes – one that established them as serious contenders in the Pac-12.
Year in and year out, the Utes have been good, but not great, in Pac-12 play. This year, led by the steady play of Wilson and Devontae Booker on offense and stellar all-around play on defense, the Utes look like they are ready to make that next step.
It won’t be easy, especially with fellow undefeated team UCLA in the same division, but the Utes, now 4-0, are for real. There’s no doubt about it.
The loss puts Oregon in an unfamiliar place – 2-2 after four weeks. Quarterback Vernon Adams has been dealing with a broken finger and was benched early in favor of Jeff Lockie. Lockie couldn’t get anything going for the Ducks either and it looks like Mark Helfrich will have a quarterback decision to make. To make matters worse, Ducks star receiver Byron Marshall was carted off the field in the first half with a leg injury.
Luckily, Oregon has the chance to regroup with two Pac-12 bottom feeders Colorado and Washington State on the schedule in the next few weeks.
For more Utah news, visit Utezone.com.
For more Oregon news, visit DuckSportsAuthority.com.
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