3 takeaways from No. 8 Oregon's 35-6 road demolition of No. 13 Utah
It is exceedingly rare to see a Kyle Whittingham-coached Utah team look like it forgot to get off the bus, but given Saturday’s matchup with Oregon was at Rice-Eccles Stadium, it’s not as if they had to go far.
Near, far, it wouldn’t matter — the Ducks left no doubt in a decisive 35-6 win Saturday, improving to 7-1 win on the season with a victory that should, but might not, send them up the rankings.
This one was over just about 10 minutes in as the Ducks built an early lead and flummoxed Utah quarterback Bryson Barnes throughout the game.
It’s been a while since someone treated the Utes the way they usually treat other teams. Oregon had 390 yards to Utah’s 241 and held the Utes to 5-of-15 third-down conversions.
Here are 3 takeaways from Oregon’s convincing win.
Oregon lands early knockout blow
Utah is known for punching teams in the mouth, but Oregon delivered the first — and second — blows on Saturday.
The Ducks went 75 yards in six plays in maybe the best offensive opening drive of the year against the Utes, capped by a 1-yard Nix touchdown run. The big play was a Nix-to-Troy Franklin 30-yard pass connection as part of a 4-for-4 drive.
Then, after the Utes hit a field goal on their opening drive, Oregon went 75 yards for another score, this one an 18-yard touchdown pass from Nix to Jordan James.
Ducks offensive line overpowers Utes
Given that Utah’s biggest strength over the years has been its dominant front seven, Oregon’s performance Saturday again ranked as one of the best in years against the Utes.
The Ducks surrender zero sacks — including none by Utah’s star defensive lineman Jonah Elliss, who leads the league in sacks — and the Utes barely flustered Nix along the way.
Oregon managed just 390 yards of total offense, far off its average for the year, but went 5-of-10 on 3rd down and found a way to keep the Utah off the field. The Ducks lost the time-of-possession battle, 31:57-28:03, but the Utes couldn’t do anything to make them pay.
Nix finished an impressive 24-of-31 passing for 248 yards and three total touchdowns while continuing his terrific rapport with Franklin, who had 99 receiving yards on 8 grabs.
That didn’t last long
The Pig Farmer had his day in a 34-32 last-second win over USC last Saturday, but Bryson Barnes was bullied by the Ducks in Week 9.
After setting a career-high with three touchdowns against the Trojans, Barnes had none Saturday and threw two costly picks, both to Oregon’s Tysheem Johnson.
Oregon had just two sacks but consistently made things tough for Barnes, who went just 15-of-29 for 136 yards. Aside from wideout Devaughn Vele’s seven-catch, 80-yard game, no other Ute had more than 24 receiving yards.
Even worse, Utah’s vaunted running game stalled out.
Sione Vaki, the Utes’ safety-turned-offensive Swiss Army Knife had just 11 yards on five carries while Jaylon Glover and Ja’Quinden Jackson combined for 76 yards on 18 carries.