Turnovers, Turnovers: Top 10 Numbers from Utah’s Loss to Washington State


Kiffer Creveling

University of Utah sophomore quarterback Tyler Huntley (1) runs the ball in an NCAA Football game vs. The Washington State Cougars in Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Justin Adams

7 – The Utah offense seemed allergic to the ball, as they turned it over seven times during the game. Many of those came at extremely inopportune times. For example, coming out of halftime, Washington State’s Luke Falk was intercepted by Corrion Ballard, who set the Utes up in Cougar territory. That momentum was squandered the very next play as Tyler Huntley gave the ball right back as he was intercepted by Hunter Dale, who returned it 34 yards to the Utah 12-yard line.

3 – As if seven turnovers weren’t bad enough, three of them occurred deep in Utah territory. Washington State had drives that started at Utah’s 19, 14 and 12-yard lines.

+50 – In total, Washington State had five drives begin in Utah territory or the plus side of the fifty. Those five possessions produced 20 points. In contrast, Washington State’s 10 possessions that started in its own territory produced just 13 points and gained only an average of 28 yards. In fact, Washington State only had one drive that went for more than 50 yards the whole game.

8 – In eight of Utah’s first nine games, the defense’s leading tackler has either been Chase Hansen, Sunia Tauteoli or Marquise Blair. None of them played in tonight’s game due to various injuries, which could have made Utah’s defense a liability. While they did struggle in certain aspects (such as allowing Washington State to convert nearly half of their third-down conversion attempts) they certainly were not the biggest liability of the game.

23 – Washington State scored 23 of its 33 points off the 7 turnovers. Multiple times after the Utah offense turned it over, the defense stepped up in the red zone and forced Washington State to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns.

50 – Washington State’s Hercules Mata’afa was everywhere on the field. The junior defensive lineman (who wears No. 50) recorded eight tackles, five of which were behind the line of scrimmage, as well as three sacks. He also forced and recovered a fumble on one of those sacks.

62 – Utah finished the game with 62 rushing yards, its fewest in any game since the team ran for 49 yards against BYU in 2012. It was also the Utes fewest against a Pac-12 opponent since they had 13 yards against Cal in 2011, their first year in the league.

300 – Despite the three interceptions he threw, Huntley finished the game with 305 passing yards, marking his third game this season that he has passed the 300-yard mark. That’s the first time a Utah quarterback has had three games of 300+ passing yards since Jordan Wynn accomplished that back in 2010 against Mountain West conference competition.

367 – Somehow Utah managed to accumulate more total yards of offense than Washington State by the end of the game. Utah had 367 yards of offense, a little below their season average of 416 yards. Washington State, meanwhile, had 338 yards of total offense, well below their season average of 466. However, it’s kind of a misleading stat because you can’t fault WSU for being handed so many short fields on account of the Utah turnovers. The Cougars certainly would have had more yards if a third of their drives hadn’t started in Utah territory.

5 – The loss is Utah’s fifth of the season, making this the first year since 2013 that it has had that many losses or more. Although during that year the team was 4-6 at this point and it needed to win both of their final games to become bowl-eligible. This year’s team has two games remaining, and it only needs to win one of them in order to get to the bowl.

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