No. 3 Oregon Upset by Tavion Thomas, No. 23 Utah in 38-7 Blowout Loss

Erin WalshNovember 21, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY, UT -  NOVEMBER 20: Tavion Thomas #9 of the Utah Utes rushes for a touchdown against the Oregon Ducks during their game November 20, 2021 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City , Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Chris Gardner/Getty Images

The No. 23 Utah Utes upset the No. 3 Oregon Ducks 38-7 on Saturday for their fourth straight win. Kyle Whittingham's squad improved to 8-3 and is on pace to win the Pac-12 South. 

While Utah and Oregon are still on course to meet in the Pac-12 Championship Game, the Ducks' second loss significantly hurts their College Football Playoff chances. 

Notable Stats

Cameron Rising, QB, UTAH: 10/18, 178 YDS and 5 CAR for 8 YDS and 1 TD

Anthony Brown, QB, ORE: 17/35, 231 YDS, 1 TD and 9 CAR for 8 YDS

Tavion Thomas, RB, UTAH: 21 CAR for 94 YDS and 3 TD

Kris Hutson, WR, ORE: 4 REC for 96 YDS

Utah Dominates in Every Facet 

From defense to special teams, the Utes dominated in every facet in Sunday's win over the Ducks. Running back Tavion Thomas kicked things off with his 15th rushing touchdown of the year to tie the school record for most rushing scores in a single season.

Utah Athletics @utahathletics

TAVION THE TANK! <a href="https://twitter.com/thiagoothomas9?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@thiagoothomas9</a> ties the school record for single-season rushing TDs (15)! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoUtes?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoUtes</a> <br><br>Watch more here: <a href="https://t.co/bT6h6LsPe6">https://t.co/bT6h6LsPe6</a> <a href="https://t.co/NMumBnQIl9">pic.twitter.com/NMumBnQIl9</a>

On Oregon's second drive of the game, the Utes held the Ducks to a field goal attempt, which safety Cole Bishop blocked to force a turnover. Utah then punted on its next possession before quarterback Cameron Rising rushed in for a score to put the Utes up 14-0.

Thomas then punched in his second rushing touchdown, his 16th of the season, to take over Utah's record for most rushing scores in a single season.

Utah Athletics @utahathletics

TAVION FOR THE RECORD<br><br>16th rushing score of the season<br><br>Watch more here: <a href="https://t.co/bT6h6LsPe6">https://t.co/bT6h6LsPe6</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoUtes?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoUtes</a> <a href="https://t.co/oYq06bds3O">pic.twitter.com/oYq06bds3O</a>

Not too long after that, Britain Covey returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown to give the Utes a 28-0 lead before halftime.

Utah's dominance continued in the second half as Rising orchestrated two more scoring drives to put the game out of reach for Oregon.

Specific players that stood out on defense include Bishop, who finished with seven tackles and one tackle for a loss; linebacker Devin Lloyd, who finished with six tackles and one tackle for a loss; and safety Vonte Davis, who finished with seven tackles. 

Oregon QB Anthony Brown, Offense Struggle in Loss

Brown was subpar in Saturday's loss to the Utes, to say the least. The senior quarterback struggled mightily in the first half, completing just 5-of-13 passes for 74 yards as Oregon was held scoreless. 

Brown also rushed for 14 yards on five carries through the first two quarters. While he was better in the second half, his struggles continued as he completed just 12-of-22 passes for 157 yards and one touchdown.

Oregon's slow start on offense made it extremely difficult for the team to attempt a comeback down 28-0, especially with the Utah defense playing well. 

Brown entered Saturday's game ranked fourth in Pac-12 with 2,030 passing yards. He also had 12 passing touchdowns, in addition to 551 rushing yards and eight rushing scores on the season entering Saturday's game. 

Oregon's rushing attack was also pitiful as Travis Dye, Byron Cardwell and Brown combined for 72 yards on 22 carries. It was an uncharacteristic performance from the Ducks on the ground as they entered the game averaging 227.4 rushing yards per contest, which ranked second in Pac-12. 

Oregon's offensive performance against Utah had people questioning whether or not the Ducks are a true playoff contender. Some also mentioned that the Ducks' passing attack needs to get better to be able to contend with other teams. 

If there's one thing we learned on Saturday night, it's that Oregon would probably struggle mightily against teams like Georgia and Alabama. 

What's Next?

The Utes are set to host unranked Colorado on Friday, while the Ducks will host unranked Oregon State next Saturday.