Utah Football Facing Rare Dilemma As Pac-12 South Showdown Against Bruins Awaits

Oct 25, 2021, 12:21 PM

Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes shows a look of concern against the Oregon Ducks durin...

Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes shows a look of concern against the Oregon Ducks during the first half of the Pac-12 Championship Game at Levi's Stadium on December 06, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Football head coach Kyle Whittingham is known for his defense, he has always had a knack for turning under-scouted defensive players into National Football League draftees.

But this year the generally very reliable Utah defense under Kyle Whittingham does not appear to have its regular mojo. Through 7 games played, the Utes are giving up an average of 258 rush yards per game, good enough for 66th in the country, and last week the Oregon State Beavers went for 260 yards with 152 of them coming thanks to star tailback B.J Taylor.

Whittingham has not been in this position often. Generally, Utah boasts one of the best defenses in the country and stopping the run pioneers the entire operation.

This is not the first time this season that Utah has looked poor against the run, however. Earlier in the year, Utah battled mightily to limit the production on the ground from their opposition. But it went away, much to the joy of Whittingham and the Utah supporters and against Arizona State last week, Utah limited the Sundevils to just 148 total rush yards.

When it comes to stopping the run, you first look at the players you have upfront. Utah, to no surprise, is starting three freshman defensive linemen, which likely has a significant role to play when you look at the issues Utah is currently facing.

“Starting three freshman d-lineman, you never make excuses because when you’re out there you need to perform, but we are just not quite where we need to be upfront yet,” Whittingham confessed in his Monday press conference. “We have had flashes throughout the course of the year but not enough consistency. Then, when we lost Devin [Lloyd] that was obviously a blow, but we were soft well before he was gone so that wasn’t the key to the whole thing but we certainly missed him when he got ejected,” Whittingham added.

The task does not get any easier for Utah as this week they host the UCLA Bruins who currently sit second in the conference for most yards on the ground per game.

Number 24 Zach Charbonnet and number 28 Brittain Brown alongside quarterback Donovan Thompson-Robinson provides a three-pronged ground attack for Utah to defend this week.

Fortunately, the game will be at Rice-Eccles Stadium with an expected full capacity crowd on hand to help will the Utes home. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. and will be available to watch on ESPN.

  • Utah Utes Scoreboard

  • Utah Utes Team Leaders

  • Utah Utes Standings

Utah Utes

tanner banks...

Brian Preece

Locals In MLB: Tanner Banks Fighting Through Early Season With Struggling White Sox

It's been a quiet week for Utahns in the big leagues, with only former Utes Tanner Banks and Oliver Dunn active at the Major League level.

1 hour ago

Rice Eccles Stadium general view at University of Utah - How to watch Utah Football...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Athletics Celebrates Student-Athletes, Teams At Crimson Carpet Awards

Utah Athletics celebrated their stellar student-athletes on Monday, April 15 in their annual Crimson Carpet Awards.

1 day ago


Michelle Bodkin

Utah Football Shares Transfer Portal Wish List

Utah football wrapped up their spring practices over the weekend and now the spring NCAA Transfer Portal season is upon us.

1 day ago


Michelle Bodkin

Former Utah WBB Star Alissa Pili Is One Of Many Headliners In 2024 WNBA Draft

The popularity of women's basketball is on the rise thanks to a surge of name-brand talent such as Utah women's basketball star Alissa Pili.

2 days ago


Michelle Bodkin

Former Utah Women’s Basketball Star Alissa Pili Goes No. 8 Overall In 2024 WNBA Draft

Former Utah women's basketball star Alissa Pili is heading to Minnesota after the Lynx took her No. 8 overall in the 2024 WNBA Draft.

2 days ago


Michelle Bodkin

Utah Basketball Will Be Seeing Double With Latest Transfer Commitment

The Runnin' Utes are continuing to build their 2024-25 roster picking up a fun transfer from Boston College with family ties to the program.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Utah Football Facing Rare Dilemma As Pac-12 South Showdown Against Bruins Awaits