Ute passing game nonexistent against Broncos

By By Cody Brunner and By Cody Brunner

By Cody Brunner

Brett Ratliff dropped back to pass on his own eight-yard line late in the second quarter, only to be flushed out of the pocket.

With a Bronco defensive end threatening to give the junior quarterback his first sack of the season, Ratliff decided to throw the ball away. But the impact of the would-be tackler deterred the throw, and the ball was redirected into the hands of Bronco linebacker Colt Brooks, who returned the interception 12 yards for the score.

The play pretty well explained the day for Ratliff and the Ute passing game, as they struggled to find any form of passing offense, throwing for a mere 51 yards.

Neither Ratliff nor Tommy Grady could find a rhythm against the Broncos, combining for eight completions and four interceptions on the afternoon.

“I didn’t play well enough to win today. It was like a bad dream-I couldn’t do anything right,” Ratliff said.

The starting quarterback struggled throughout the first half, throwing a pair of interceptions and only completing four passes for 28 yards. His performance prompted a decision from the coaching staff to bring in second-string quarterback Grady.

“It was kind of frustrating (getting taken out), but I wasn’t getting the job done, so they had to try somebody else. I kind of expected it,” Ratliff said.

Grady didn’t fare too well, either, throwing the Utes’ third interception of the game on their first possession of the second half.

“I thought that the curl was going to be open, but I didn’t see that ‘backer coming in,” Grady said.

Grady didn’t have any chance for redemption, as he was replaced by Ratliff on the very next series.

“It’s really frustrating to be taken out like that. I wanted to get right back out there and play right away, but I didn’t do my job, so they brought Brett back in,” Grady said.

Grady’s interception throw was just one of four for the Utes, all of which turned into points for the Broncos.

“From what I saw, there was nothing special from the Boise State defense that they hadn’t shown prior,” U head coach Kyle Whittingham said. “(There was) not a lot of pressure, we just didn’t throw the ball well at all today.”

The Utes’ passing woes are not only limited to the Boise State game. Utah is averaging a measly 186 passing yards per game this season and has a total of seven interceptions.

Despite beating San Diego State 38-7 two weeks ago, the Utes were only able to rack up 167 yards through the air and completed only 12 of 26 pass attempts.

With all of the subpar play and substituting, fans might wonder if there is a quarterback controversy at the U.

“Absolutely not,” Whittingham said. “Brett Ratliff is our guy. Tommy came in and had some chances to see what he could do, but there is no change at quarterback.”

Kim Peterson

Brett Ratliff attempts a balancing act along the sideline as Boise State’s Marty Tadman pushes him out of bounds during Saturday’s homecoming game.