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Three Takeaways From Utah’s Injury-Plagued Loss To Oregon State

Sep 30, 2023, 12:26 AM | Updated: 12:28 am

jaylon-glover-takes-hand-off-from-nate-johnson-during-weber-state-game-2023...

Utah Utes quarterback Nate Johnson (13) hands the ball off to Utah Utes running back Jaylon Glover (1) during their football game against the Weber State Wildcats at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023. (Photo Cred: Megan Nielson, Deseret News)

(Photo Cred: Megan Nielson, Deseret News)

CORVALLIS, OR – The injuries and anemic offense finally caught up to Utah as they suffered their first loss of the 2023 season to Oregon State.

Before the game was played it was very clear Utah would have to play a clean, efficient game. They did neither of those things resulting in their 21-7 loss to the Beavers.

Untimely penalties, dropped passes, an inability to get much going in the run game combined with too many injuries ultimately did the Utes in. Here are three takeaways from Utah’s first loss of the season.

Takeaway No. 1: When It Rains, It Pours

Utah just cannot seem to catch a break.

Now, a lot of that this evening was self-inflicted with penalties and poor execution, but the injuries are getting ridiculous.

Obviously, a lot of key guys were missing, but what hurts is the additions to that list from tonight alone. Logan Fano and Charlie Vincent exited the game early and never returned. Bryson Barnes entered the game and sparked some life, only to get rocked and taken to the medical tent. Later on the media found out Barnes is in the hospital.

Ute fans held their breath when Spencer Fano and Thomas Yassmin were slow to get up, but both eventually made it back out to play.

Utah needs and has earned this BYE week to rest, reset, and hopefully get guys back. This was one of those deflating and demoralizing losses that will need a good regroup.

Takeaway No. 2: Utah’s Offense Needs To Figure Out How To Function With What They Have

This is easier said than done when you have the injuries Utah is dealing with and guys on the cusp of being available.

There has been a lot of hand-wringing the past week or so about who gets what reps and when from the fan-side of things and it’s understandable. The offensive product on the field to start this season has not lived up to expectations early on. There is no denying that.

Where I give Utah some leniency on however, is that they are in a virtually impossible position.

You have guys who are very close to being back and need reps to get back in the swing of things. You also have young guys without a lot of playing experience trying to fill some big shoes that need reps in order to improve and be more comfortable out on the field.

How do you split those reps to get the results you need to have happen regardless of who is playing? I know I certainly don’t know have the answers to that.

Still, the Utes are going to need to figure out how they are going to get more and better offensive production out of whoever is available. They don’t have much choice with the injuries.

Takeaway No. 3: Keeping Things In Perspective For Utah

This was an ugly loss.

Heck, if we’re being brutally honest, Utah has had some ugly wins too.

It’s been beyond frustrating for everyone involved. Fans, players, coaches, media.

Still, when you take into account all of the hurdles this team has had to overcome with injuries against the quality of opponents they have faced, it’s impressive they sit at 4-1.

Adding to the reality check is that one of Utah’s players, who has consistently given the program everything he has, is in the hospital.

When you look at it that way, the wins and losses or how they’ve looked matter very little.

This is a good team with good people who unfortunately have been massively snakebit.

Sometimes it’s ok to just enjoy where you are at and let the rest fall where it may.

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 XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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