Utah football report card: Ute offense goes missing in loss to USC (5 items)
What has happened to the Utah offense?
Just two weeks after beating fifth-ranked Stanford, the Utes played their worst game of the season against USC. In losing the turnover battle 4-0, Utah handed the contest to the Trojans. The teams combined for just 471 yards, so the Utes never took advantage Saturday against a mediocre Trojans team that didn’t improve.
Rhett Wilkinson is a project manager for UtahPolicy.com and attends Utah State University. The co-founder of magazine Aggie BluePrint.com, he's been an intern for the Deseret News and other publications. firstname.lastname@example.org | @wilklogan
1 of 5. Offense
Ultimately, Schulz (7 of 17) hardly helped the situation. On his first series, he threw an interception that led to an unnecessary USC field goal. He got Utah in field goal range on his second possession but not much more. On the Utes’ last possession with time to come back, Schulz was sacked for a 15-yard loss on first down. Utah faced the top defense in the Pac-12, but the Utes had some missed opportunities, particularly with Wilson and Schulz missing open receivers. The Utes also came up short on a fourth-and-1 at the USC 11 midway through the second quarter.
2 of 5. Defense
USC didn’t have Marqise Lee, the 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner. Still, Utah’s defense was successful, holding the Trojans to just a 4-of-20 rate on third downs. Remarkably, the Utes held Tre Madden and the Trojans to just 30 rushing yards. USC tallied 261 total.
3 of 5. Special Teams
USC’s Andre Heidari was just 6 of 11 on field goals entering the game but made four straight before missing one with 4:54 left in the third quarter.
Sophomore receiver Geoff Norwood gave Utah a spark with a 40-yard punt return late in the third quarter.
4 of 5. Coaching
Still, coaches must take at least partial responsibility for an offense that was completely ineffective.
5 of 5. Overall
The Utes’ defense remains stout, but the offense must reclaim the potency it found under Erickson back in September.