UTAH UTES

Munir McClain Rises Up, Grabs Touchdown Pass On Top Of ASU Defense

Nov 4, 2023, 1:41 PM

munir-mcclain-catches-pass-and-runs-against-weber-state-at-res-2023...

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 16: Munir McClain #4 of the Utah Utes runs the ball against Jack Kelly #17 of the Weber State Wildcats during the first half of their game at Rice-Eccles Stadium September 16, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Munir McClain reeled in his first touchdown as a Ute against Arizona State and it came in highlight fashion.

QB Bryson Barnes gave McClain a jump ball in the end zone and the former USC Trojan went up to get it.

The touchdown was McClain’s first reception of the game.

McClain had one reception for 14 yards in Utah’s game against Oregon last week.

McClain has been a big play receiver for Utah all season. In three games played, he has recorded five receptions for 147 yards (29.4 yards per catch).

The score gave Utah a 24-3 lead over ASU as halftime approached.

Three Storylines For Oregon Vs. Utah Football

  1. Bryson Barnes. We mentioned last week that this is now Bryson Barnes’ team and now we get to see how he responds to a loss and helps to get the rest of the team back on track. Barnes was 5-0 as a starter for the Utes before running into the buzzsaw that was the Oregon Ducks. Not all losses have to be total losses is everyone learns and grows from the experience. It will be interesting to see how Barnes as the unquestioned leader, guides the team through the adversity they faced last week with a new opponent this week.
  2. The Utah Defense. The Utah defense got carved up in a way we really hadn’t seen this year by Bo Nix, Bucky Irving and Oregon’s offense. Interestingly enough, while the Utes didn’t appear to have quite the same edge on defense that they’d shown in other games, they did hold the Ducks to below their season average in several offensive categories. Certainly, credit belongs to Oregon for being just that good, but Utah’s defense does need to find that swagger again this week that makes them formidable and gives the Utes a fighting chance.
  3. Getting Back To A Full-Team Effort. What the Utes have done in 2023 is pretty impressive considering the injury hurdles they’ve had to overcome along with a tough schedule to sit at 6-2. At times those wins have come largely due to a particular side of the ball being on fire, or some massive individual effort. However, the two weeks prior to the Ducks coming to town it felt like the Utes had figured out how to win games with a full team effort which was great to see. Oregon disrupted that last week. Utah needs to get back into that full-team effort swing because while they should be able to skate by ASU without it, that won’t be the case the week after when they travel to Seattle.

Two Questions Heading Into ASU Vs. USC

  1. What Did Utah Learn To Improve Moving Forward? There is this saying, “it’s not a loss if you learned.” Now, obviously we know that Utah’s record won’t magically change to 7-1 because they learned from the loss. What is done is done, but Utah still needs to be as good as possible if they want to win out. Oregon showed Utah some deficiencies that those other good teams could take advantage of if things don’t change starting with ASU. Did the coaching staff get better? Did the players get better? The reset and final push for the Utes starts this week.
  2. Can Bryson Barnes And Devaughn Vele Continue To Foster And Build Their Connection? There wasn’t a ton to love offensively for the Utes in last week’s contest with the Ducks, but if we are looking for bright spots, it appears Barnes and Vele have something good cooking in the pass game. Can they continue to foster and build that connection? The Utah offense was hit particularly hard by the injury bug that has been plaguing the Utes so anything that can help add some explosiveness and dimensionality to that group is a huge deal.

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Chandler Holt is a co-host for the Jazz Notes podcast and a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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Munir McClain Rises Up, Grabs Touchdown Pass On Top Of ASU Defense