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GAME BLOG: Oregon 31, (16) Utah 24

GAME BLOG: Oregon 31, (16) Utah 24

Estimated read time: 13-14 minutes

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Score: Oregon 31, Utah 24
Utah forced four Oregon turnovers and battled back from an 18 point deficit, but two costly interceptions in the fourth quarter were too much to overcome as the Utes lose for the first time since 2007.

Time Remaining: 1:56 Fourth Quarter
Score: Oregon 31, Utah 24

Terrance Cain throws a terrible pass that is easily intercepted, and Oregon can run out the clock. The pass was on 2nd and 8 with plenty of time left. Cain does not look like he has the ability to throw the deep ball.

Time Remaining: 3:29 Fourth Quarter
Score: Oregon 31, Utah 24

Facing 3rd and 16, Cain throws an interception looking for Asiata on a small dump off, and Oregon returns it down to the Utah 20 yard line. Missed opportunity for the Utes and now Oregon has a great chance to put the game away. Cain looked really rattled after he took a massive hit on the play before.

Oregon takes 2 minutes off the clock and settles for a 31 yard field goal to go up by 7.

Time Remaining: 7:49 Fourth Quarter
Score: Oregon 28, Utah 24

After forcing an Oregon punt, Utah is unable to move the ball. Cain tried to hit Key deep, but the play was well covered. Oregon RB LaMichael James spun out of a near tackle for a loss and turned it into a huge gain for Oregon. Now the Ducks have it on the Utah 23 yard line. Two 15 yard personal foul penalties on Utah give Oregon the ball inside the Utah 7 yard line, looking to put this game away. Robert Johnson comes up big again for the Utes, intercepting Masoli's pass in the end zone, preventing an Oregon score. Utah will take over on their own 20 with 7:49 left to play.

Time Remaining: End of Third Quarter
Score: Oregon 28, Utah 24

Oregon was able to drive down to the Utah 34 yard line, but facing a 4th and 3 they elected to go for it and were stopped. Utah takes over on downs with a great chance to make something happen.

Time Remaining: 3:56 Third Quarter
Score: Oregon 28, Utah 24

Oregon looks like a completely different offensive team. They just marched down the field and scored a touchdown to push the lead up to 18. Jeremiah Masoli ran a naked bootleg and ran untouched for the touchdown. The offensive speed of Oregon is simply too much for the Utes.

Utah is finally able to put a complete drive together, driving 71 yards in 10 plays, capped off by a 22 yard TD pass from Cain to Jereme Brooks. Short passes mixed up with Asiata runs worked well on the drive for the Utes.

On Oregon's next play, Masoli is stripped by LB Mike Wright, and Robert Johnson returned the fumble 29 yards for a touchdown. Just like that it is a 4 point game. Wow.

Time Remaining: 11:20 Third Quarter
Score: Oregon 21, Utah 10

Oregon fumbles the first snap of the third quarter, and Kenape Eliapo jumps on it for the Utes. Great field position for the Utes to start the half on the Oregon 20 yard line. The Utes manage a first down on the back of Matt Asiata, but the offense stalls and Joe Phillips nails a 22 yard field goal to put the score at 21-10.

Score: Oregon 21, Utah 7

Oregon is 4-0 when Walter Thurmond III scores a touchdown, and it was bad news for the Utes when he took a Sean Sellwood punt back 78 yards for the touchdown to open up scoring for Oregon. Utah matched the score after Elijah Wesson blocked an Oregon punt and Terrance Cain ran a QB keeper 19 yards on the next play.

Since that play it has been all Oregon, but only on the scoreboard. Three big plays have set Oregon up for scores. If Utah can settle down and regroup, I think they can get back in this game. Cain showed some poise on the Utes' last drive, checking off his reads and dumping the ball off when no one was open. Let's see if he can build off of that last drive.

Keys to the 2nd Half
Utah: Buckle down and don't give up the big play
Oregon: Don't give the Utes any more chances, just close the door

Time Remaining: 1:40 Second Quarter
Score: Oregon 21, Utah 7

It only takes Oregon three plays to score, with QB Masoli running it in from 22 yards out to put Oregon up 21-7.

Utah has failed on their last seven 3rd down conversions. That is not the way to win a football game on the road. Sellwood comes on to punt and Oregon will take over on their own 32 yard line.

Oregon couldn't pick up a first down, and Utah will take over on their own 41 yard line with 1:12 left in the half.

A great catch by Aiona Key who then stretches out to get an extra yard gives Utah their 1st first down in the 2nd quarter. After moving the ball all the way down to the Oregon 2 yard line with two seconds left, time expires as Cain's pass intended for David Reed falls incomplete. I like that the Utes went for it rather then kicking the field goal, but I don't like the play call.

Time Remaining: 4:54 Second Quarter
Score: Oregon 14, Utah 7

Utah's offense can't get anything to work. The Utes have been forced into quick three and outs on their last 3 possessions. They have gained a total of 5 yards on those three drives. Oregon blocks Sellwood's punt, but the Utes get a favorable roll out of it. The Ducks will take over on their own 40.

Oregon goes for it on 4th and 7, but a bad snap puts Masoli in a tough situation and his pass to an open receiver falls incomplete.

Make that four straight Utah possessions with three and outs. A nice run by Matt Asiata set the Utes up with a 2nd and 1, but a terrible counter run put the Utes back 6 yards. On the punt, Walter Thurmond III fumbles the punt and Justin Taplin-Ross recovers for the Utes, setting them up with great field position on the Oregon 29 yard line. Controversy strikes the Utes as Brooks catches the ball on the 3 yard line, and it is ruled complete, but the officials overturn the call after the review. I didn't see any evidence to call it either way, so I think the call should have stood. On 4th and 12, the Utes elect to go for in and Oregon LB Casey Matthews runs into the backfield untouched and sacks Terrance Cain for a loss of 9.

Time Remaining: 0:57 First Quarter
Score: Oregon 14, Utah 7

After giving up 2 first downs, the Utes stiffen on defense thanks to a great open field tackle by Koa Misi and a sack by cornerback Brandon Burton to force an Oregon punt. Jackson Rice's punt is fielded by Luke Matthews and returned 6 yards to give the Utes the ball on their own 27 yard line.

Utah is unable to convert on 3rd and 8, so Sean Sellwood is back on for the Utes to punt. This time his punt is high and allows the coverage team to force Oregon into calling for a fair catch.

Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli connects with WR Jeff Maehl for a 58 yard gain down to the Utah 8 yard line. The secondary slipped on the play, and Masoli took advantage of it. Two plays later RB LaMichael James runs it in from 4 yards out to put Oregon back on top 14-7.

Time Remaining: 6:34 First Quarter
Score: Utah 7, Oregon 7

Oregon will start their first offensive possession with a 7-0 lead. After an incomplete pass and offensive holding penalty, DE Koa Misi makes a great play reading the draw perfectly forcing a 3rd and 20. Jeremiah Masoli's pass falls well incomplete and the Utes force a punt. Special teams makes a great play as Elijah Wesson blocks the punt and then recovers it, giving the Utes the ball on the Oregon 19 yard line.

The very next play Cain runs the zone read to perfection, faking the handoff to Eddie Wide III, seeing the defense bite on the fake, and he ran to the outside and used his speed to get into the endzone. Joe Phillips' extra point is good, and the Utes tie the game up at 7. Great read by Cain to counter the aggressive Oregon defense.

Time Remaining: 7:57 First Quarter
Score: Oregon 7, Utah 0

Oregon won the coin toss and defers to the second half, so the Utes will start on offense. Utah will start on their own 25 yard line. The crowd is so loud that the initial kickoff was waved off because the officials' whistle could not be heard. Cain throws a quick out route for 5 yards, but the lack of run blocking forces a Sean Sellwood punt. Walter Thurmond III returns the punt 78 yards for the touchdown on poor special teams coverage, and the Ducks are out in front 7-0.

On the Utes' next possession, Cain hooks up with John Peel on a simple out route for a gain of 15 on a critical 3rd and 6. Matt Asiata is now out on the field and pushes his way for a first down on 3rd and short. It doesn't look like his favoring his shoulder, but I will keep my eye on it. Utah already has dodged a bullet as Jereme Brooks fumbled the ball and 3 Oregon defenders tried to pick it up, but David Reed was able to slide in and cover the ball. Because the lack of trust in the kicking position by the Utes, they elect to go for it on 4th and 3 on the Oregon 34 yard line. Cain's pass is batted down at the line and Oregon takes over on downs.

![](![](**Week 3 Game Notes** No. 16/18 Utah (2-0, 0-0 MWC) at Oregon (1-1, 0-0 PAC-10) **Date:** Saturday, Sept. 19 **Time:** 1:30 pm (MT) **Site:** Eugene, Ore. (Autzen Stadium) **TV:** ESPN **Radio:** KALL 700 Sports Radio **Series Record:** Oregon leads 17-8 **Last Meeting:** 2003 (Utah 17, Oregon 13) **Kickoff Weather:** Showers, Temps: mid 60s
![](**Keys to the Game for Utah**

  • Establish the run - if Matt Asiata can't play other Utes will need to step up to take some pressure off of Terrance Cain. "Shak" broke his wrist and will not play, so if Matt can't play it will all rest on Eddie Wide
  • Ball security - the Utes are ranked #103 in the country in turnover margin (-1.5), compared to last season where the Utes were #10 (+1.0). If the Utes are to win close games, they will need to win the turnover battle

Keys to the Game for Oregon

  • 12th man advantage - Autzen Stadium is one of the 10 loudest college football stadiums in the country. The longer the crowd is in the game, the more I like Oregon to win
  • Protect QB Jeremiah Masoli - Oregon will need to protect their quarterback and give him time to throw the ball. Masoli has a tendency to scramble if his main read is covered, so if he isn't being pressured he could have a big day running the football.

Key Match-up
Utah's passing offense (#25 NCAA, 267 YPG) vs. Oregon's pass defense (#87 NCAA, 239 YPG)

My Prediction
It would be a huge confidence boost if the Utes can score on their opening possession. Autzen Stadium is one of the most difficult places to play, so if the Utes can get on top early it would minimize the energy and noise from the crowd.

I've been going back on forth on this game, picking Oregon because they are playing at home, then switching and picking the Utes because they have won 16 straight. After a long heated internal debate, I am picking the Utes for the following three reasons: 1) Coach Whittingham has his team ready for big games (Michigan, UCLA, Alabama, Oregon State, TCU and BYU to name just a few); 2) The mistakes the Utes made in their first two games were fixable, assignment or technique based, not because of lack of talent; and 3) Terrance Cain has played well in his first two games as a Ute, and his running ability should help keep the defense honest.

If the Utes can hold on to the ball, they may be able to pull out the victory. If they play sloppy like they did against Utah State and San Jose State, it could be a very long afternoon in Eugene.

MY PREDICTION: Utah 20, Oregon 19. Let me know what you think. Post your predictions/questions in the comment board.

Utah Miscellaneous Stats

  • Safety Joe Dale is probable (flu); running back Sausan Shakerin (wrist) will not play; Matt Asiata is a game time decision
  • Utah ranks first in the MWC and 12th in the NCAA in total offense, averaging 509.0 yards per game
  • The Utes are second in the league and in the top 25 nationally in rushing offense (242.0) and passing offense (267.0)
  • Senior Matt Asiata leads the MWC and ranks 10th in the nation in rushing (125.0 yards per game).
  • Senior David Reed leads the MWC in receptions (7.5 per game) and is second in receiving yards per game (117.0).
  • Utah, which ranks second in the nation in opponent third down conversions (3-of-24 for 12.5%), opened the season with 14 straight stops on third downs.
  • Utah owns the longest current win streak (16 games) and bowl win streak (eight games) in the nation.
  • With last week's victory at San Jose State, Utah matched the second-longest road/neutral win streak in school history and now has nine straight wins away from home dating back to Dec. 20, 2007. The school record is 11 straight road/neutral wins, set from Sept. 27, 2003-Jan. 1, 2005.
  • Since 2003, Utah is 6-2 against the Pac-10 with wins over California (2003), No. 19 Oregon (2003), Arizona (2004, 2005), No. 11 UCLA (2007) and Oregon State (2008). Losses were to UCLA (2006) and Oregon State (2007). Kyle Whittingham is 3-2 against the Pac-10 as Utah's head coach.
  • Whittingham is 7-3 against BCS teams. Wins came against No. 4 Alabama (2009/2008 season), Michigan (2008), Oregon State (2008), UCLA (2007), Louisville (2007), No. 24 Georgia Tech (2005) and Arizona (2005). Losses were to Oregon State (2007), UCLA (2006) and North Carolina (2005).
  • Utah's last win in Autzen Stadium was in 1994.

Oregon Miscellaneous Stats

  • The Ducks are 4-0 in games when senior cornerback Walter Thurmond III scores a touchdown.
  • Oregon ranks #107 in total offense, #94 in total defense
  • Junior defensive end Kenny Rowe is tied for 14th nationally in sacks, averaging 1.25 per game
  • Oregon was 2-1 when facing ranked teams in 2008.
  • With a crowd of 57,772 on the home opener vs. Purdue last Saturday, Oregon has now sold out Autzen Stadium (cap. 54,000) for 62 consecutive games, dating to 1999.
  • Senior Walter Thurmond III ranks 19th in the country in kickoff returns with an average of 29.75.
  • Oregon's offensive numbers are down across the board from a year ago, but when the Ducks have made it to the Red Zone, they are a perfect 5-for-5 , including four touchdowns in ‘09.
  • Utah is ranked #102 in red zone efficiency (63%), while Oregon is tied for #1 (100%)

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