September 4, 2009
Some quick takes and afterthoughts:
- Utah extended their winning streak to fifteen: The longest in the country.
- Utah State played well. Didn't seem to make too many mistakes and look very much improved from last year. Yet it never really seemed like they were in this game.
- David Reed will be an All-MWC Wide Receiver with over 1,000 reception yards this year.
- Matt Asiata will make a run for Mountain West MVP honors. He will exceed 1,000 yards rushing.
- Terrance Cain's ability to connect on the short passes early really opened things up for Asiata. Which is why Louks was never the guy.
- This game shed some light on the three biggest questions for Utah coming into the season: QB, the kicking game and the two new cornerbacks.
- QB: JUCO transfer Terrance Cain looked good. He played his role. He distributed the ball, he let the others make plays and he avoided costly turnovers.
- Terrance was terrific on the short passing game and looked very potent running the ball.
- Cain did struggle however, to connect, or even come close to connecting, on the deep ball
- Cain also made very few progressions and showed a tendency to stare down his primary receiver. Although you can't really blame him when you have a guy like WR David Reed—10 receptions, 172 yards.
- Cain also struggled in the second half after the defense took away the underneath routes.
- Overall, Terrance played his role as care taker and game manager very well.
- Kicking: Ben Vroman was rock solid on kickoffs, PAT's and a nice 44- yard field goal. Given his strong performance in camp, I'd say the kicking game is no longer a concern.
- Overall, special teams looked pretty strong other than a fumbled punt by Luke Matthews.
- Corners: The corners played fairly well. They were a non-factor. Which is good. Although the corner play was overshadowed by a surprisingly mediocre day for the Ute defense.
- Utah's inability to pressure the QB and force turnovers was surprising. I thought the Utes would be much more dominant on the defensive line. Perhaps they miss DE Koa Misi much more than expected. Either way, credit a very sound offensive line play by Utah State.
- The Utah defense did bat away a ton of passes. Yet only one pick. Interesting to note, one of Utah's greatest weaknesses from last year, dropped interceptions. It has also plagued them all summer in camp. That says a lot of about a team when that's a leading weakness.
- Again, like last year, the Utes seemed prone to giving up the big play. Many of which can be tabbed to over playing. The Utes nabbed two safeties but gave up a 96-yard TD run. There's always a trade-off.
- Number two running back Eddie Wide looked great. Terrific change of pace runner.
- I was surprised we didn't see more from Shaky Smithson, Sausan Shakerin, or David Kruger.
- Oregon looked terrible against Boise State. That doesn't help Utah much. Although a Ute victory over Oregon would crush Boise State's BCS hopes.
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