The Utah football team hosted ESPN’s College GameDay this week following an exciting victory against USC at the Coliseum last Saturday. This was in anticipation of a highly anticipated matchup with Oregon that would have Pac-12 implications.
As it happened, the significant build-up proved to be the weekend’s high point.
The No. 8-ranked Ducks overpowered the 13th-ranked Utes, who lost 35–6, as they were unable to generate any momentum on either side of the ball.
Desmond Howard, a GameDay analyst, had foreseen that this game would not be decided by the end of the second or third quarter.
Apparently, he was mistaken.
Thousands of football spectators filed out of the stadium as Utah trailed 21–6 at halftime and two more touchdowns midway through the third quarter.
For the second straight week, the Utes’ usually excellent defense faltered early, allowing the Ducks to score touchdowns on three of their first four possessions. Neither running back Bucky Irving (83 difficult yards on 14 carries) nor quarterback Bo Nix (24 of 31 for 248 yards) were truly figured out by them.
However, Utah’s attack was unable to find a spark this time, not even in the presence of Sione Vaki.
He only managed five rushes for 11 yards, which was indicative of the Utes’ poor ground game throughout the afternoon, as they managed only 99 running yards on 36 tries.
The attacking pass wasn’t all that much better.
No one else really got going in the passing game, despite quarterback Bryson Barnes’s reliable connection with wide receiver Devaughn Vele (seven catches for 80 yards).
Barnes completed the game 15 of 29 for 136 yards passing, but his two costly interceptions effectively put an end to the team’s slim hopes of a comeback.
Utah is currently 3-2 in Pac-12 play and 6-2 overall on the year.