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Utah’s Defense Has Dominated In Second Half Of Games This Season

Utah Utes defensive end Bradlee Anae (6) flexes his bicep after sacking Northern Illinois Huskies quarterback Ross Bowers (12) during second half action in the University of Utah versus Northern Illinois football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah football team has suffered just one loss but in their four wins this season, the Utes have played very well in the second half defensively and giving the offense every opportunity to score points.

Through five games this year, the Utes have outscored their opponents 72-19 in the second half. They have kept three teams scoreless in the second half and only two teams has scored a touchdown on Utah’s defense in the second half.

“Halftime adjustments have been very good for us so far this year,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said. “Credit to the coaches at halftime for making tweaks and changes to what’s going on. Players are physically in great shape. Our strength coach does a great job and I don’t know what else to say other than their level of training is very high and they don’t seem to get too tired.”

When Utah beat BYU 30-12 to open the season in Provo, they outscored the Cougars 21-6 in the second half. In the victory over Northern Illinois in their home opener, the Utes put up two touchdowns in the second half and held the Huskies scoreless to pick up the 35-17 win.

“We haven’t played a ton of snaps on defense,” Whittingham said. “A big part of the defense is we’ve played the fewest snaps in the Pac-12 I would imagine. Credit the offense for doing a great job of controlling the ball in the second half. That’s another big part of it, is possessing the football and not turning it over.”

In Utah’s 31-0 win over Idaho State, they scored a touchdown and held the Bengals scoreless. Their loss to USC was a different story. The Trojans outscored the Utes 16-13 in the second half to get the 30-23 victory.

The last game that Utah played before their bye week against Washington State, they shutout the Cougars in the second half while scoring 17 points in their 38-13 win.

Utah will hope to continue their dominance in the second half when they head to Corvallis to face Oregon State on Saturday at 6 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network.