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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
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Utes are winning despite mistakes

By Nick Pappas

Saturday’s game against an undefeated Air Force team had a lot of similarities to the games before it. The Utes had problems with turnovers. The Utes had penalties. But more importantly, the Utes won.

Most fans will look at the game and come to the conclusion Utah got lucky. The team overcame big mistakes and still found a way to own the higher number on the scoreboard.

What will happen when the Utes face stiffer competition? TCU is now ranked in the AP’s Top 25 along with BYU and Utah, making it the first year in the history of the Mountain West Conference that three teams are ranked. It seems Utah can’t hope to win while fumbling, holding and having 12 men on the field forever.

Cougar fans on their “Quest for Perfection” like to tout their disciplined, older and more mature returned missionaries and believe the mistakes made by Utah’s young men will eventually catch up to them.

I’ve been victimized by it myself. I watched the Michigan game praying the Utes would find a way to hold on despite multiple penalties. I watched the Utes let Utah State take an early lead because of a bobbled punt. I didn’t think the team could beat a strong Air Force team handling the ball as if it were a live grenade.

They still won. They made mistakes and came out on top.

The truth is, penalties and turnovers will not make or break this season. Utah can win in spite of them. A familiar coach has proven it.
In 2006, former Utah turncoat Urban Meyer was in his second year with Florida. Meyer and the Gators led the league in penalties with 116, averaging an amazing 63 yards backward per game.

It proved little. Florida went on to beat Ohio State and win the national championship.

Some would say turnovers tell the truer story, that if the turnover margin is wide there is no chance to have a successful season. Most of these naysayers would be Cougar fans.

In this case, take a look at BYU’s season last year. The Cougars are in the midst of the longest winning streak in the nation and completed a season that placed them in most preseason polls. Yet BYU’s winning streak is in spite of the “lack of discipline” shackled on the Utes. In turnover margin, the Holy Knights ranked 93rd in the country last year. The Cougars were tied with Hawaii, who finished the season 12-1. Texas Tech, the most penalized team in FBS football as of a week ago, is ranked No. 10.

As a fan, I can choose to worry about turnovers or not. I choose not to anymore. Only two things matter in the game of football8212;how many points the team puts up, and how many points the other team doesn’t. As long as our defense is holding a rushing powerhouse like Air Force to 53 yards, I have no complaints. As long as the offense is averaging 38.8 points per game and is in the Top 20 in the nation, I will forgive Brian Johnson a fumble or two.

The team is 4-0. Right now it’s the only stat that matters.

[email protected]

Nick Pappas

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