Three takeaways from Utah’s blowout win over Oregon State
A week after Oregon State narrowly pulled off the upset win over then-No. 7 USC, the Beavers doomed themselves from the beginning against a Utah team that was opportunistic at every corner.
Oregon State dug itself an early hole as Chance Nolan threw two first-quarter interceptions to Utah’s Clark Phillips III. Though the Beavers running game kept them in it through halftime, when OSU trailed 21-13, an ineffective passing game ultimately spelled doom. For the Utes, it was a resounding 42-16 win, and one that sets up a huge matchup at undefeated UCLA next Saturday.
Here are three takeaways from the game…
Nolan dooms Beavers again
Once Oregon State actually finds itself an impact quarterback, the Beavers are going to turn into one of the most dangerous teams on the West Coast.
Oregon State was a “Chance Nolan being competent away” from competing with the Utes early. But Nolan’s combination of risky throws and Utah cornerback Clark Phillips spelled doom for the Oregon State starter. Nolan went just 2-for-7 for 26 yards with two interceptions — both by Phillips, one returned for a touchdown — before being pulled for reserve quarterback Ben Gulbranson. Tristan Gebbia was entirely skipped over.
Gulbranson wasn’t great, or even good, but he did complete 12 of his 20 passes for 177 yards.
The problem is an Oregon State running game that found success in the first half was neutralized in the second, to the tune of just 41 rushing yards. And that forced the Beavers to lean more on the pass than they probably would have liked to.
Gulbranson was picked off twice just like Nolan. RJ Hubert grabbed one, and Phillips snagged the other in the back of the endzone to finish with three in the game.
Utes’ running game needs work
Utah’s running game has been utterly perplexing this year, but Kyle Whittingham shed some light recently when he called into question Tavion Thomas’ effort and production.
Thomas bottomed out on Saturday against the Beavers, rushing six times for 13 yards, as part of a generally weak day for the Utah ground game.
Quarterback Cameron Rising, a decent enough threat on the ground, had seven carries for 73 yards and a touchdown to lead Utah, but no other Utes running back had more than 19 yards.
Rising stays remarkably efficient
While a moderate threat on the ground, Rising continued his crisp passing with 19 completions on 25 attempts for 199 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions, his third game this season with three or more touchdowns and zero picks.
At some point, Utah will have to have to dial up the yardage but if Rising keeps completing passes at a 66% clip, the Utes’ passing game will be effective all year.