Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Utah 44, #11 UCLA 6

I think that I need to be a little quicker in posting these game reviews. In each of the last two weeks I've had people tell me that they are waiting (and looking) for my reviews. I'll try and be quicker, but cut me some slack - this week I have 3 tests! For some reason, they think that my opinion on the game is actually worth something. I think that's funny because I'm usually just faking what I know and making half the stuff up. BUT, after the way the Utes played the first two weeks, who would have thought that they were going to have the Mountain West Conference's biggest win so far this season - and arguably the second biggest upset in the nation so far.

It's pretty well agreed upon that UCLA was horribly overrated. The last two weeks (against BYU and then Utah), they played awful. They were lucky to get the win against BYU and I think that it was more a result of the Cougars poor play (penalties!) than the Bruins good play. Against Utah, it was more of the same. UCLA just looked awful. They turned the ball over every chance they got and they were penalized more than any team the Utes have played in a long time. It was a nice change, it seems that usually the Utes are the ones with the stupid penalties, but on Saturday they looked very well disciplined (at least in comparison to UCLA).

It's amazing how the unexpected can be so fun and excited. Before the game I had convinced myself that I would be satisfied if Utah was able to get into the end zone once. When Utah scored their first touchdown after less than 3 minutes had gone off the clock, I knew that I wouldn't be satisfied with only one touchdown... Little did the stadium know that that was simply a preview of what would be an exciting game (for Ute fans that is). It seemed as if Utah could do no wrong. They moved the ball at will and played an incredibly exciting game. For the first time this season they were able to run the ball, which in turn opened up their passing game. For the first two weeks, Grady mainly ran the option. This week, in a stroke of genius I may add, Grady didn't run the option a single time. If the Utes wanted an option play, they brought in their small, backup, freshman QB, Louks (pronounced Lukes) to run the play. He looked great and is obviously a better fit for that type of offense. One of my favorite plays was a touchdown pass from Louks to Rogers from the 12 yard line. It was a misdirection play to the right and Rogers cut across behind the line and was wide open on the far side where Louks hit him, throwing on the run. Grady would have had some real trouble trying to make that play.

UCLA looked far worse than Air Force or Oregon State. I'd be tempted to say that they may be only the 5th best team in the PAC-10 (behind USC, Cal, Oregon, ASU and possibly even Washington and Oregon State). Time may validate my claim. Utah's defense was fantastic. They came away with 5 takeaways and were relentless with their pressure. They kept UCLA out of the end zone for the entire game. I was surprised that Ben Olsen was coming in for more in the fourth quarter. He was getting beaten as badly as Bush in the polls (I'm not one to come up with any good metaphors - but credit me for trying...). If Utah had played the whole game at the intensity that they showed in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarters, they would have had at least 2 more touchdowns. UCLA owes the team a thank you card for only embarrassing them lots and lots and lots rather than lots and lots and lots and lots and - you get the picture.

The big question is whether or not this win was a fluke. I think that it was in some aspects because UCLA should not have been ranked where they were. For the Utes sake, I wish that Ben Olsen was quarterbacking at BYU, rather than at UCLA (Max Hall has way more potential). On the other hand, Utah played awesome defense (only giving up 83 yards on the ground, when they gave up 575 yards in the first 2 weeks!). Utah's play calling was a blast from the Urban Meyer era. Did Kyle call Urban this last week begging for his playbook? After seeing the game, I wouldn't be too surprised. I toyed with bringing my Fire Kyle sign to the game, now I'm glad that it stayed home and he's just bought himself a couple more weeks off the hot seat. If Utah loses to UNLV and/or Utah State, then yes, this game was a fluke. Regardless, Appalachian State would have beaten UCLA by far more than the Utes did.

1 comment:

Sam said...

I just needed the insight of someone who was actually there. Must have been crazy in the MUSS!