Big Bounce Back Week for the Utes coming off the disappointing home loss on Saturday night against Washington State. That bounce back won’t be easy considering this week’s opponent is #8 UCLA and at the Rose Bowl.
Utah was able win win the turnover battle (+2) on Saturday against the Cougars, but still managed to lose. Statistically that’s tough to do. The numbers say that 94% of the time the team that wins the turnover battle (+2) wins the game.
If the Utes want to have a chance this Saturday night they’ll need to win that turnover margin battle once again. They’ll also need to do these three things as well…
1. Be more consistent in the passing game-Contrary to popular belief this isn’t all about Travis Wilson. Wilson certainly needs to be better because going 18-38 for 165yds isn’t going to get it done against UCLA or frankly anyone in the Pac 12. But much of that responsibility falls on the offensive line and the wide receivers. Better blocking up front and actually holding onto footballs would help the pass game tremendously.
2. Contain Brett Hundley-After Marcus Mariotta, there is no more dangerous Quarterback in the Pac 12 than Brett Hundley. He’s truly a duel threat QB, with the ability to beat you with both his arm and legs. Make no mistake Hundley can run, but where he’s most dangerous is moving in and around the pocket to keep plays alive down the field. When guys like Orchard, Dimick, Fanaika, Paul and Norris have a shot at him they should make it count and wrap him up, because he’s also one of the toughest hombres to bring down. He’s a sure fire Top 15 pick next season in the NFL Draft. The Utes need to make sure they’re not part of the highlight reel shown on Draft Day.
3. Figure out how to Finish-There’s no doubt in my mind this game is going to be a close one. I think it will be decided in the 4th Quarter at the Rose Bowl. As we saw last week and numerous times over the last few years, Utah struggles to finish football games. This isn’t an offensive or defensive issue it’s a team issue. If Utah is going to become a team that challenges the class of the conference then they’ll have to figure out how to put teams away. I think once they’re able to figure out how to finish, especially on the road, a burden will be lifted.
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