No. 10 Utah’s Offense Knows What Is At Stake Against No. 12 Oregon

Nov 15, 2022, 1:59 PM
Cam Rising and Tavion Thomas - Utah Utes vs. Oregon...
Utah Utes quarterback Cam Rising (7) hands the ball off to Utah Utes running back Tavion Thomas (9) as Utah and Oregon play an NCAA football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

SALT LAKE CITY- Oregon may have taken a tumble last week against Washington, but Utah isn’t approaching their prep like that’s the case. Utah’s offense knows what is at stake against Oregon this week and that it will take their best effort to walk out of Autzen with the win and a second straight trip to the Pac-12 Championship in hand.


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“We have to get through them to get to the Pac-12 Championship Game,” Utah quarterback Cam Rising said. “That’s our goal. We’ve just got to make sure we are doing everything we can to be ready to go for this week.”

Assessing Oregon’s Defense Vs. Utah’s Offense

Oregon’s strength is not in their defense. The Ducks currently rank tenth in third down defense, fifth in fourth down defense, seventh in first down defense, sixth in red zone defense, second in rushing defense, eighth in passing defense, seventh in sacks, eleventh in tackles for loss and seventh in overall defense.

Utah’s offense on the other hand ranks fourth in third down conversions, second in fourth down conversions, third in first downs, nineth in passing offense, nineth in red zone offense, third in rushing offense, fourth in passing efficiency, and fifth in overall offense.

Perhaps the most interesting battle between Utah’s offense and Oregon’s defense will come down to the rushing game where the Ducks do excel in limiting, but Utah also excels in creating. With the emergence of Ja’Quinden Jackson and Jaylon Glover at the running back position and the re-emergence of star Tavion Thomas, the game may very well come down to this one battle.

Thomas for his part says he recognizes the importance of this game and is ready and willing to do anything he can to help the Utes make their second trip to Las Vegas.

“I just want to turn it around and finish this season out strong,” Thomas said. “Do whatever I’ve got to do for the team so that we can come back-to-back for the championship.”

Understanding What Is At Stake

The Utes have been very affective in keeping themselves in the conference championship discussion despite a few setbacks with injuries, losses and a close-for-comfort call against Washington State. That’s just the nature of a football season. How a team handles those things and moves forward generally tells you everything you need to know and there have been few teams better than Utah navigating those waters.

Wide receiver Devaughn Vele says the team knows this game is for all of the marbles- or at least a chance to play for all of them and they are focused on making sure they get there.

“We understand what is at stake,” Vele said. “This is obviously going to be the make or break for us as to whether we go to the championship game or not. They suffered a tough loss against Washington, so we have the recipe for how to win against them through the film they have put out for us. We know we have to make sure we execute the game plan that they give us and make sure we know we need to play with passion, play fast, and play physical.”


Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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