SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – With the eyes of the college football world focused on Salt Lake City, the 13th-ranked Utes laid a large duck egg.
The #8 Oregon Ducks crushed the Utes Saturday with ESPN’s College GameDay in town, 35-6.
This was Utah’s worst home loss since a 47-7 defeat to TCU in 2010, and it was the first time Utah failed to score a touchdown at home since a 17-9 loss to UCLA in 2015.
“Not a lot of positives in that game for us,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “That’s as thoroughly and as soundly as we’ve been beaten in a long time, particularly at home. Give Oregon credit, they are a complete football team, just like I’ve been saying all week long. The score wasn’t indicative, the game was a mismatch. It was worse than what the score indicated.”
Bo Nix threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 8 Oregon to a 35-6 victory over No. 13 Utah, which had an 18-game home winning streak snapped by the loss Saturday.
Troy Franklin tallied 99 yards and a touchdown on eight catches for the Ducks. Bucky Irving added 83 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Oregon (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) won in Salt Lake City for the first time since 2016. The Ducks racked up 390 total yards and forced two turnovers.
Bryson Barnes threw for 136 yards and had two interceptions. Devaughn Vele had a season-high 80 yards on seven catches for the Utes (6-2, 3-2).
“They were doing a good job covering things and getting to the quarterback,” Barnes said. “But at the end of the day, we need to look at film, find out on Monday and find out where we need to get better.”
Nix picked Utah’s defense apart with surgical precision during the first half. He totaled only two incomplete passes over Oregon’s first six drives. The Ducks had no trouble moving the chains behind his steady passing.
Nix threw two touchdown passes — an 18-yard dart to Jordan James and a 3-yard strike to Troy Franklin — and rushed for a 1-yard score to help Oregon jump out to a 21-3 lead early in the second quarter. The Ducks averaged 9.0 yards per play on their first three scoring drives.
“They were super balanced,” said Utah linebacker Karene Reid. “They have a strong run and pass game. You’ve got to be stout in both. It’s not like we felt they had a weak spot, whether it was run or pass, we’ve got to be ready for it all.”
Gaining ground proved much more cumbersome for the Utes. Utah forced Oregon to lose a fumble for the first time this season when Junior Tafuna stripped the ball from Irving as he tackled him and recovered it at the Oregon 27. The Utes turned the turnover into a 32-yard field goal from Cole Becker, who added a second field goal from 30 yards to cap Utah’s final first-half drive.
Irving ran in untouched from 9 yards out to extend Oregon’s lead again early in the in the third quarter. Johnson then intercepted Barnes a second time to set up a 5-yard run from Traeshon Holden to put the Ducks up 35-6 midway through the third quarter.
The Ducks’ offense caught Utah’s defense flat-footed early and their defense made enough consistent stops to keep the Utes from knocking off a second consecutive ranked opponent.
An inability to generate a consistent running attack prevented the Utes from generating much offensive momentum. Utah tallied just 28 rushing yards through the first three quarters and averaged 1.2 yards per carry in that span.
DeVaughn Vele did have a season-high seven catches for 80 yards, but the Utes had just 241 total yards. Vele wasn’t using a rash of injuries as an excuse.
“We’ve got a lot of guys in that locker room that are hard working,” Vele said. “We understand the situation and it’s not a shock to anybody that we have a lot of guys down. We’re expecting a lot out of young guys, and we’re expecting big things from them.”
The Utes will try to regroup next week at home against Arizona State in a noon kickoff.
“For us, I don’t want to say back to the drawing board,” Whittingham said. “But we’ve got to figure things out. Good teams respond, and we will respond.”