The Top 10 Numbers from Utah v. Oregon

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Sophomore quarterback Tyler Huntley (1) throws a pass under pressure as the Utah Utes Football team take on the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, OR on Saturday, October 28, 2017. (Photo by Curtis Lin/Daily Utah Chronicle)

0 – Starting with a positive, Tyler Huntley was able to take care of the ball this week as he threw zero interceptions after having thrown four last week.

1 – In probably one of the weirdest plays in Utah football history, offensive lineman Darrin Paulo caught a deflected pass from Tyler Huntley in the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown. It’s likely to be his only career reception and surely his only career touchdown. It was a cool moment for the big fella in an otherwise bad game for the Utes.

6 – All the talk going into the game was about Darren Carrington’s return to his former team (on Oregon’s Homecoming game no less). He had a pretty good stat line at the end of the game: nine catches for 130 yards. However, he failed to get in the end zone, and he actually cost the Utes’ six points when his fumble was recovered by Oregon and returned for a touchdown.

20 – For most teams, getting into the red zone on 75 percent of its drives in one half is a good thing. But for Utah, whose offense mysteriously shuts down when they pass the 20-yard line, it doesn’t mean much. In three of Utah’s four first half possessions, they entered the red zone. After entering the red zone, they ran a total of nine plays for -10 yards. There were four runs, four incomplete passes and a sack. The three possessions netted just six points. Then in the second half, a 33-yard run by Huntley set up the Utah offense at the 2-yard line. Surely Utah could score a touchdown given three tries from inside the 2-yard line. Next three plays: Huntley ran for no gain. Huntley incompleted a pass. Huntley ran for 1 yard. I’m convinced that it’s only because the red zone Gods took pity on Utah that a deflected pass on 4th down somehow fell into the arms of Darrin Paulo as he laid on his back in the end zone.

10 – Remember when Zack Moss had a coming-out party a few weeks ago against USC? When he rushed 20 times for 141 yards and added another 26 yards off of three catches? Well, since that game, Moss has been rewarded with only 11 carries per game. 12 last week. 10 against Oregon. And it’s not like he’s been bad. Against Oregon, he ended up with an average of over five yards per carry. Good things happen when you run the ball. You wear the opponent’s defense down. You can control the clock and give your own defense a rest on the sideline. It takes pressure off the quarterback. I’m not saying Utah needs to go back to the days of trying to grind out a close win with just defense and the running game, only letting the quarterback throw it a handful of times because the coaches are so afraid of a turnover, but a little more balance would be nice.

47 – If I told you that one team in any given match only had 47 yards passing, you’d assume that team lost. Not this game. Oregon’s quarterback completed 9-of-12 passes for just 47 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, yet his team won by 21 points.

347 – If you’re wondering why Oregon’s quarterback only had to throw the ball twelve times, this is why. As a team, the Ducks ran for 347 yards against the Utah defense. That’s the most rushing yards the Utah front seven have given up since joining the Pac-12. It’s also just one yard less than Oregon had against Southern Utah in its first game of the season. Yes, you read that correctly. Utah’s rush defense was about as good as Southern Utah’s against Oregon.

224.4 – While Utah’s rushing defense against Oregon was its worst of the year, it was not an aberration. Utah has been giving up an average of 224.4 yards on the ground in Pac-12 play this year, by far the worst they’ve done in any season. The Utes have also given up nine rushing touchdowns in five conference games, almost two per game. In all their conference games prior to this season, they were only giving up 1.1 rushing touchdowns per game. This is clearly no longer the hard-nosed stop-the-run defense that Utah has enjoyed for so many years.

2011 – The losses to Arizona State and Oregon are the first back-to-back losses of 20 or more points that Utah has had since 2011, its first year in the Pac-12.

4 – After winning their first four games of the season, the Utes now lost four games in a row to Stanford, USC, Arizona State and now Oregon. At 4-4 with no easy games remaining, Utah is in danger of missing a bowl game for the first time since 2013.

j.adams@dailyutahchronicle.com

@jusstadams

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