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SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah football team concluded its best season in the Pac-12 with a 45-10 blowout victory over Colorado State in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl Saturday.
The win gives Utah a much-needed boost heading into the offseason as Utah looks to build on a successful season next year. The blowout victory was a positive for the outgoing seniors, who haven’t seen much of a postseason with Utah.
The following is a grading of Utah’s win over Mountain West Conference opponent Colorado State.
From start to finish Utah’s offense was a much-improved version of its regular-season self. Utah started out with a trick play including junior quarterback Jason Thompson, Travis Wilson and Kaelin Clay, which lead to a quick Utah score. Utah followed up its opening drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Delshawn McClellon in the end zone from Wilson. The offense never looked back and put up 548 total yards of offense.
Wilson finished the game completing 17-of-26 passes for 158 yards and one touchdown. He added 91 rushing yards and three touchdown on 11 carries, making him the game’s MVP. Wilson’s impact on the game was a major reason for Utah’s success on offense. Junior running back Devontae Booker added 162 rushing yards and one touchdown to finish the season with 1,512 rushing yards on the season, which ranks him second all-time in school history.
Although it was against a Mountain West Conference opponent, Utah’s offense had a better game plan that was executed well for much of the game. It wasn’t perfect at times — Wilson had an interception in the third quarter — but was a great way to end the season for Utah.
Utah’s defense was a nightmare for Colorado State, who finished the game with only 12 rushing yards. Colorado State finished with 278 total yards of offense, but did little as a result of Utah’s defense.
Senior Nate Orchard finished the game with three total tackles and one sack, but ends the season as the school’s record holder in season sacks (18.5) and sack yards (118). Orchard ends his career with 25 career sacks, which is tied for third all-time in school history.
Several other defenders, including Jared Norris and Brian Blechen, were instrumental in keeping Colorado State from advancing the ball and putting points on the board. All in all, Utah’s defense continued its season dominance and capped it off with a great performance.
There wasn’t much to see from the special teams unit Saturday as the offense had most of the production. Andy Phillips did miss a 38-yard field goal, which drops the grade slightly, but was another strong performance from a part of the team that has been extremely successful all season.
Punter Tom Hackett finished the game averaging only 39 yards per punt on three punts, but was never in a position where he had to flip the field. Phillips did make a 38-yard field in the first half to give Utah a 24-10 lead going into the half.
Utah did exactly what it needed to to conclude a successful season. Utah looked like the better team from start to finish and sent the seniors out on a high note. Additionally, it gave Utah the most wins it has ever had since joining the Pac-12.