SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Both Utah and Oregon will have revenge on their minds Friday night in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Two years ago, the Ducks ended the Utes’ playoff hopes with a resounding 37-15 win in Santa Clara. Two weeks ago, Utah eliminated Oregon from playoff contention with a dominating 38-7 win at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Friday night in Las Vegas, the Utes are expecting to see some pretty angry Ducks.
“We just worry about our mindset, but I know they’re mad,” said Utes wide receiver Britain Covey, who had a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown against Oregon. “They’re going to come out hot, so it’s exciting. What more could you ask for?”
“I know they’re more motivated, especially after coming in and not playing their best football,” added linebacker Devin Lloyd. “So I know they’ll definitely be more motivated.”
“This year, they were trying to go to the playoffs, and we kind of ruined it for them,” said tight end Brant Kuithe. “Two years ago, they did the same to us. So this year we just have to come with a vengeance. We beat them this year once already, so if we prepare the right way, I expect the same result.”
The Utes started fast at home, jumping out to a 28-0 lead and taking Oregon out of its game plan to run the ball. So the plan for Utah is to jump on them early again.
“We really want to him them in the face from the get go and make sure we set the tone early,” said Utes quarterback Cam Rising. “We want to let them know that we are the same team that played them last time.”
However, as dominant as Utah was against Oregon two weeks ago, they can’t get overconfident against the 2-time defending Pac-12 Champions.
“One thing is for certain is we made a bunch of plays in that game against Oregon a couple weeks ago that don’t mean squat now,” head coach Kyle Whittingham said. “They don’t care, and they’re going to have an impact on this game, so we’ve got to go out and make plays. That’s what it comes down to is making plays.”
Plus, Oregon looked much better last week against Oregon State, beating their rivals, 38-29.
“I think they got their groove back a little bit,” Covey said. “I think they’re going to come in hungry and confident.
“There’s no other motivating factor, they embarrassed us,” said Oregon safety Verone McKinley. “So as soon as the Oregon State game was over, we celebrated for a couple hours and we were like, it’s time. Let’s go. We’ve got some unfinished business.”
Utah and Oregon will battle it out for the Pac-12 Championship Friday night at 6:00. Tune into ABC4 Thursday at 6:30 for a pregame show, and another show Friday at 5:30 leading up to kickoff. Then, stay with ABC4 for a live postgame show immediately following the game.