What was a three game losing streak has now turned to four for the University of Utah football team (4-4 overall, 1-4 Pac-12) after it dropped its road matchup on Saturday to Oregon, 20-41. With all eyes on graduate transfer Darren Carrington II, who is all too familiar with Autzen Stadium after spending three years in a Duck uniform, the outcome wasn’t what he was hoping for, let alone what Utah as a team wanted.
“It was fun playing against them, but I’m focused on us,” Carrington said. “We got to fix our problems, we got to fix them.”
Carrington was the leading receiver with nine receptions for 130 yards. Tyler Huntley went 25-of-43 for 293 passing yards and two touchdowns, while Zack Moss led the way on the ground with 10 carries for 53 yards.
On the opening drive, the Ducks had two crucial rushing plays that set them up for a 5-yard rushing touchdown. Kani Benoit ran for 24 yards and Braxton Burmeister, who started in place of Justin Herbert, who has been out four games with a broken collarbone, picked up 15 yards. While the Ducks bulldozed past the Utah defense, the Utah offense didn’t get off on the right foot either as Huntley was sacked to take the Utes out of field goal range, and it gave the ball right back to Oregon.
It was a struggle for the Utes to find the end zone the entire first half — and though the opportunities to score were there. Matt Gay was responsible for all six points Utah put up before halftime, but the scoring didn’t start until the second quarter.
The Utah defense began to wake up early during that same quarter when Kylie Fitts sacked Burmeister. On third-and-goal of that drive, the Utes held Oregon on the Utah 6-yard line, forcing the Ducks to settle for a field goal.
Boos rang from the crowd when Carrington’s name was announced, and then there were cheers from Duck fans when he fumbled the ball after a pass completion from Huntley. Oregon capitalized on Carrington’s mistake as it ran the ball downfield for a 47-yard touchdown.
Looking to redeem himself with the ball back in Utah’s possession, Carrington caught a 46-yard pass but despite try after try, Utah failed to haul in a touchdown.
At the half, Oregon was up 17-6.
The first Utah touchdown came at the beginning of the third quarter when Darrin Paulo caught a 1-yard pass to cut his team’s deficit, 17-13. As Oregon continued to add to its lead with a 38-yard field goal, Utah suffered disappointment after disappointment. It’s a defeat and a losing streak that Huntley, Carrington and Fitts all described as “embarrassing.”
Jack Jackson was ejected from the game after being called for targeting, Gay missed a field goal that would’ve brought Utah four points within tying the game and Oregon tacked on two more touchdowns to bury Utah, 34-13.
“Their rushing attack is what did us in. Three hundred plus yards rushing, you have almost no chance to win a game when that happens,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “That was the story line. The throw game didn’t hurt us. … It was the perimeter run game in particular.”
In the fourth quarter, Utah added seven points to its score off a 29-yard touchdown pass from Huntley to Siaosi Wilson, but the Ducks closed the scoring with a 21-yard touchdown run with 2:10 left in the game.
“We’ll have to watch film to see what all took place, but there isn’t too much I can tell you all right now,” Huntley said. “All I know is we got to learn from our mistakes.”