Utah’s Heartbreaking Loss To Washington Showed Vast Improvement

Nov 29, 2020, 4:33 PM
Ty Jordan vs. Washington...
Ty Jordan #22 of the Utah Utes runs for 46 yards in the second quarter against the Washington Huskies at Husky Stadium on November 28, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In Utah’s 24-21 road loss to the Washington Huskies on Saturday, the Utes showed vast improvement and a bright future.

Utah had a 21-0 lead at the halftime break before being shutout in the second half for the second straight week. They allowed Washington to drop 24 points in the last 30 minutes to pull off the comeback victory.

While many were critical of Utah’s tough loss, there is a lot to look forward to and many positives to take from their second game of the 2020 season.

Here is the Crimson Corner’s “three-point stance,” with three thoughts from Utah’s game against the Huskies.

Running Back Production

Fans shouldn’t be looking for the next Zack Moss but Utah has plenty of options of guys that can step in and be the “lead back.” After two games, it’s looking like the guy is freshman Ty Jordan. For the second straight game, Jordan led the Utes in rushing yards. Against Washington, the Mesquite, Texas native nearly cracked 100 yards with 97 rushing yards on 10 carries. He also caught 4 passes for 31 yards.

Jordan has a big body but is very quick on his feet. He was able to find gaps in the run game and kept drives moving in the first half. In the second half, he coughed up the ball that led to a Washington score. With Jordan as a true freshman, rookie mistakes are expected.

Devin Brumfield ran the ball 10 times for 39 yards and one TD and Jordan Wilmore added 8 carries for 29 yards.

The next step for this group is holding onto the ball and not committing any costly turnovers.

Young Defense Is Ahead Of Schedule

Everyone who follows the Utes and the Pac-12 knew what they were going to do defensively against Washington. Stop the run. The Huskies averaged over 200 yards on the ground per game entering Saturday night.

Washington stuck to their plan of running the ball but the Utes didn’t break. The Huskies finished with 88 rushing yards on 26 attempts for an average of 3.4 yards per carry.

Utah’s secondary is filled with newcomers, players that have started just one game in their college career (USC) entering the Saturday night clash in the Pacific Northwest. Before facing the Utes, Washington did not have a single turnover.

Utah’s secondary changed that with three interceptions. True freshman Faybian Marks had his first career interception on UW’s first drive of the game. Just before halftime on a hail mary, walk-on safety Zemaiah Vaughn picked off Dylan Morris.

Finally, early in the fourth quarter, sophomore cornerback JaTravis Broughton broke up a Washington pass. The ball fell into the hands of safety Vonte Davis.

Utah’s defense is filled with youth that will make “rookie” mistakes but in a crazy 2020 season with so many unpredictable things happening, fans couldn’t ask for a better scenario.

A big positive to all of this is that all of the players’ eligibility clocks are frozen and all can come back next year without burning a year of eligibility.

Put All Positives Into Four Quarters

Utah didn’t do a lot of wrong things in the first half against Washington. Jake Bentley fumbled the ball on their first drive of the game but other than that, the Utes scored a touchdown on three of their next four drives. The offensive line was physical, getting a good push while the running backs were being productive and the passing game was efficient.

In the second half, Utah turned the ball over on four of their six drives with two interceptions, one fumble and a turnover on downs. Utah ran 35 plays for 241 yards in the first half. They ran just 30 plays for 138 yards in the second half.

The defense looked gassed in the fourth quarter on Washington’s last offensive drive when they took the lead. Utah’s young defenders were constantly being relied on to get stops. For the most part, they accomplished that but they eventually broke.

Utah fans should be excited about the rest of this season and the build up to the 2021 campaign.

Utah will host the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday, December 5 at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Kickoff time and broadcast information will be released in the coming days.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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