Report Card: Utes vs. Oregon State


Justin Quinn, The Daily Barometer

Justin Quinn, The Daily Barometer
Justin Quinn, The Daily Barometer

Andy Phillips – A
I know, I know, without “Automatic Andy” this team wouldn’t be 5-1 and sitting at No. 19 in the rankings. So after another flawless night kicking the ball, going 3-for-3 on field goals, why wouldn’t Phillips get the best grade of A+? Heading into Thursday night, Phillips had kicked 35 kickoffs with 23 of those being called for touchbacks. But Thursday night, he couldn’t register a single touchback in five attempts. Luckily for the Utes, the Beavers never got anything going in the return game, but the kickoff woes are creeping back into the Utah kicker’s game. All in all, great game by a great kicker but Automatic Andy needs to go back to booting the ball out of the endzone on kickoffs.
Defensive Front Seven – A+
No, the Utes didn’t register 10 sacks like they did against UCLA, but this unit looked tremendous throughout the game. Led by Gionni Paul’s 14 tackle and one interception performance, this group led the defense by holding the Oregon offense to just 2.6 yards per carry. In addition to that, this unit added to the defense’s lead in total sacks by registering five more against the Beavers, bringing Utah’s national lead to 33 on the year. This front seven was disruptive and made it a living hell for Sean Mannion and company to operate all night long.
Offense (besides Devontae Booker) – Didn’t come to class
Had to throw in “besides” the beast running back in there (more on that later), but besides him, this offense looked less than pedestrian. Maybe it was because of the quarterback change at half time, maybe not, but something needs to be fixed. Speaking of quarterbacks, Utah should maybe consider going with the third string after the performances from Kendal Thompson and Travis Wilson. Neither guy separated themselves as a clear starter, therefore deepening the hole the Utes find themselves in at this position. On top of that, the receivers — a position that seemed to be on lock heading into the season — struggled, yet again, to get open and catch the football. The line did look better, evident by the 253 yards rushing, but I think that’s attributed more to the skill and vision of Booker rather than the play of the offensive line. This unit really needs to step up to keep this run going.
Devontae Booker – A+
Wow. Is there anything I really even need to say of this guy’s performance on Thursday night? The stats speak for themselves — 32 carries for 229 yards and three touchdowns — but the way Booker ran proved that he is an elite back. Booker’s vision throughout the game was impressive, to say the least, making cuts and bursting through the line as if it was second nature. While he still needs some work blocking and receiving, Booker proved in this game that he is a superior runner, maybe even the best in the Pac-12.
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