Utah Football Looks to Remain Perfect in Conference Play with Matchup Against Oregon State


Jonathan Wang

Junior center Nick Ford and junior wide receiver Solomon Enis walk out of the tunnel at the game against Arizona State football in Salt Lake City on Oct. 16, 2021. (Photo by Jonathan Wang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Cole Bagley, Sports Editor


The Utes are rolling after back-to-back victories against the Pac-12 South’s top competitors, the first of which came in a 42-26 win over the USC Trojans, and the latest, a statement 35-21 win against Arizona State.

With those victories, the Utes now find themselves at 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the Pac-12 Conference, atop the South Division. Utah will now look to replicate their winning ways as they face a respectable 4-2 Oregon State on the road in Corvallis.

Scouting the Utes

Ranking: N/A

Record: (4-2, 3-0 Pac-12)

Last Week: W vs. Arizona State, 35-21

In their last game, the Utes put together an impressive come-from-behind victory after they trailed the Sun Devils 21-7 in the first half but went on to score 28 unanswered in the second. Not only did the offense significantly step up their production, but the defense held Arizona State to just 97 total yards with only 17 on the ground compared to 131 in the initial half.

Following a pitiful performance in the first half where he threw two interceptions, #ThiccBoi7 put together a magical second half and led the offense to four-straight scoring drives with 285 yards and two touchdowns. He also finished 13-15 in the second for a grand total of 21-33 for the game. 

For his efforts, Cameron Rising was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row.

As for the receiving room, it was an impressive group effort with six receivers recording three or more receptions for 247 yards. Impressively, freshman Devaughn Vele led the room with 57 yards and a few critical third down catches. Tight-end Brant Kuithe was also back to his former self, recording two touchdown receptions and 36 yards.

In regards to the rushing-game, Tavion Thomas demonstrated consistency in back-to-back matchups with 84 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. He also completed a second-straight game without a single turnover, something that was a major problem early on in the season.

Defensively, the Utes were all over the field in the second half. In addition to holding the Sun Devils to just 97 yards, they didn’t allow a single score and were able to drop ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels four times in the backfield compared to none in the first.

As expected, Devin Lloyd was again a force on his own and finished with eight total tackles, seven of which were solo and included four tackles for loss with two sacks. For his efforts, he was awarded the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week.

Utes to Watch

Rising and the Receivers

Since assuming the starting position Rising is 56/84 (66%) for 690 yards and 5 TDs. The Utes are also 3-0 and have outscored their opponents 101-60 during that time. With the obvious correlation between Rising’s stellar performances and Utah’s undefeated record since he took over, Utah will need him to perform at a high level again in order to beat Oregon State.

The Defensive Line and Linebackers

The Beavers offense has primarily relied on their running backs as they’ve averaged 242.5 yards per game with 18 total touchdowns. If the Utes want to slow that production down, they’ll need to rely on the play of the defensive line and linebackers just like they did against Arizona State.

Hear it From Coach 

“You typically get a pretty boisterous crowd,” Whittingham said. “It’s just an environment that is one of the tougher places to play in the Pac-12. Other than the fans and the overall environment, I don’t have a great answer for you. It [Oregon State] has proven to be a tough place. Although last time we were there, we started out incredible in the first half, [but] that game was not typical of a game that you have in Corvallis. We’re expecting a hard-fought battle.”

Scouting the Beavers

Ranking: N/A

Record: (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12)

Last Week: L vs. Washington State, 31-24

The Beavers have been one of the more surprising teams this season, putting together a solid 4-2 overall record and 2-1 in the conference. While they have recorded notable victories against USC and Washington, Oregon State remains a question mark after an embarrassing 31-24 loss to Washington State last week.

As previously mentioned, the Beavers have relied heavily on their run game and rightly so. Last week against the Cougars, quarterback Chance Nolan was terrible and finished 11-25 for 158 yards and two interceptions. With those numbers, it’s a surprise they even let him throw that many attempts.

In regards to his favorite target, Champ Flemings led the room but only finished with two receptions for 38 yards.

Despite the loss, the run-game had a field day, courtesy of the two-headed monster of B.J. Baylor and DeShaun Fenwick. Between the two, the Beavers totaled 272 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries.

Defensively, the Beavers couldn’t stop Jayden De Laura and he finished the day 32-46 for 399 yards and three touchdowns. This would be Oregon State’s demise as they simply couldn’t slow down the Cougar passing game and failed to match them in offensive production.

Beavers to Watch

The Running Backs

With a total of 1,455 yards on the ground compared to just 628 through the air, the Oregon State offense almost exclusively operates through the running backs. If they’re set loose, it could be a long day for the Utes in Corvallis.

The Defensive Line

While neither the pass or rush defense is above average for the Beavers, they’ve allowed roughly 500 more yards through the air compared to the ground. With the way Rising has been playing as of late, Oregon State will undoubtedly look to create as much pressure as possible in the backfield in order to try and slow him down.

How to Watch

This week’s game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network with kickoff set for 5:30 p.m. MDT. Ted Robinson and Yogi Roth will be the TV crew on the game. Additionally, Fans can also listen to the game on the Home of the Utes, ESPN700 with Bill Riley, Stevenson Sylvester and Scott Mitchell on the call.


[email protected]