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Five Players That Stood Out In Utah’s Win Over Oregon State

Brant Kuithe #80 of the Utah Utes gets away from a tackle attempt by Avery Roberts #34 of the Oregon State Beavers during their game at Rice Eccles Stadium on December 5, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah’s defense had the bend but don’t break mentality in their 30-24 win over Oregon State on Saturday.

The young defense needed to make big plays in big time moments and they were able to answer the call. Utah’s offense was productive at times but wasn’t at times either.

This week’s list features four defenders and one offensive player.

Here is the Crimson Corner’s five standout performers from Utah’s win over Oregon State in no particular order.

Devin Lloyd, Linebacker

The anchor of Utah’s defense is Devin Lloyd. The captain has been tremendous this season. Despite not leading the Utes in tackles against the Beavers, Lloyd filled up the stat sheet.

Lloyd finished with 7 total tackles, including 6 solo tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and a forced fumble. The forced fumble came in the second half with Lloyd sacked Oregon State’s quarterback.

JaTravis Broughton, Cornerback

Broughton is Utah’s No. 1 cornerback as a sophomore. He has his best game as a Ute on Saturday against Oregon State. Broughton had great coverage on multiple key plays in the fourth quarter when Oregon State tried to take the lead.

Broughton recorded a team-high 9 tackles, including 7 solo tackles and a pass breakup.

Brant Kuithe, Tight End

Utah made it a focal point to get Kuithe involved early and often after not having a massive impact in the offense through the first two weeks. That changed against Oregon State. Kuithe recorded 8 catches for 76 yards.

The star tight end should’ve had at least two touchdowns but Jake Bentley couldn’t get the ball to Kuithe in the end zone after either throwing behind or over his head.

Clark Phillips III, Cornerback

It seems as though the true freshman cornerback has been on this list every week. That’s because he continues to make plays under the spotlight. Phillips doesn’t have an interception or a forced fumble or fumble recovery this season. But what he is doing is contributing and making key plays that help the defense get off the field.

Phillips has made plays at the line of scrimmage and down the field. His open field tackling is impressive. He finished with seven tackles, including one tackle for loss. Phillips’ tackle for loss came when he pushed the quarterback out of bounds three yards behind the line of scrimmage.

Another impressive trait for Phillips is his ability to play the nickel position. Last week, Malone Mataele didn’t play against Washington. When Utah was in the nickel package, Phillips would switch from outside to inside. Mataele was ejected in the second quarter for targeting. That forced Phillips to play nickel in the second half. Kyle Whittingham said multiple times that nickel is the hardest position to play in their defensive scheme.

Mika Tafua, Defensive End

Tafua is the frontrunner to be the next mayor of “Sack Lake City.” He had 5 total tackles, 4 solo tackles and one sack.

What’s impressive was in the fourth quarter, Tafua needed to leave the game due to an injury. Two plays later, he returned and sacked the quarterback on a key drive.

Utah will travel to Boulder to face the Colorado Buffaloes on Friday, December 11 at 7:30 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast on FS1.

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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