Utah Utes: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats
Utah Utes: Key To The 2022 Offense
Keep on converting third downs.
The glitch was fixed after Cameron Rising got more comfortable in the starting quarterback when October came around, and now it all has to continue.
Utah started 1-2 for a slew of reasons. The run defense had issues with BYU and San Diego State – more on that in a moment – and the offense couldn’t control games like it’s usually so good at doing.
The offense failed to convert 40% of its third down chances in any of the first four games, and it hit the mark and did more in each of the last ten games.
23-0. That’s what Utah is over the last eight seasons when it converts 50% or more of its third down chances.
Utah Utes: Key To The 2022 Defense
Stop the run. Always.
This isn’t a tough formula for the Utah defense. Keep on dominating with the pass rush, be more physical and get off the field, and hold up against the run.
It’s hard to argue with having the best run defense in the Pac-12 and allowing just 3.7 yards per carry, but when the Ute defense got run on, the team usually lost.
San Diego State ran for over 200 yards and 4.5 yards per pop. BYU ran for 231 yards and five yards per carry, and Oregon State rumbled for 260 yards and over six yards a carry. Those were the three regular season losses.
Ohio State was too busy throwing to run – it only ran for 110 yards – but averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
Going back to 2017, Utah is 0-8 when giving up 200 yards or more.
Utah Utes: Key Player To The 2022 Season
C Paul Maile, Jr.
Nick Ford was a special interior blocker.
The 6-5, 317-pound Jacksonville Jaguar was a three-time All-Pac-12 blocker and the leader of a line that paved the way to two Pac-12 Championship appearances and a conference title last year. He stepped up at center, but he worked at guard and saw a little time at tackle, too.
The 6-2, 304-pound Maile started three times last year at center when the line had to shuffle a bit, but now he has to step in for Ford and try to replace the production. If he’s good, the line will be all but set.
By the way, the season starts at … Florida.
Ford is one key part who needs to be replaced, but not quite as huge as …
Utah Utes: Key Transfer
LB Mohamoud Diabate, Sr.
All Devin Lloyd did was make 250 tackles with 15.5 sacks and 43 tackles for loss with five picks as the star of the Utah defense over the last three seasons.
Diabate might not be another Lloyd, but he came up with 170 tackles with 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss over the last three years at Florida. He’s got great parts around him, so as long as he can come up with close to 80 tackles and hold up in the middle, he’ll be doing his job.
Utah Key Game To The 2022 Season
USC, Oct. 8
The Utes finally beat USC in the greater Los Angeles area.
They had problems for years against the Trojans – including in a 28-21 loss in the 1993 Freedom Bowl – but that all ended last year. The Utes rolled 42-26 last year, and while it didn’t lock in the Pac-12 South, it certainly helped.
Now there aren’t any divisions, and with a trip to UCLA the week before, and with a date at Oregon in November, there can’t be a misfire here.
Utah Utes: 2021 Fun Stats
– Penalties: Opponents 104 for 923 yards – Utah 67 for 632 yards
– Sacks: Utah 42 for 279 yards – Opponents 13 for 85 yards
– Red Zone TDs: Utah 52-of-73 (71%) – Opponents 24-of-47 (51%)