Conference Championshlp Game 2021: Utah vs. Oregon

A very admiring preview of the Utes from the Oregonian:


Wonder if these results will motivate any of the Utes on Friday…

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I’m surprised to not see Bam Oleseni’s name anywhere in here. Daniels had a great year, to be sure, but Bam has played really well. As for Thibodeaux being DPOY, that can only be because he was anointed to that spot prior to the season. Anyone who watched Utah’s line make him look silly should know that. He was barely a factor. Meanwhile, nobody controlled Devon Lloyd all year. In my totally biased opinion Lloyd should be the conference DPOY.


I saw these - I know they are statistics based, but some are absolutely ridiculous. London has been out since week 9, etc. Kayvon > Lloyd? Just because he ‘affects every snap’? No Ford or Bam even in honorable mentions even though the line and run game are core to our success? Garbage.

I hope they all come with a chip on their shoulder. I’m not saying that all the Utes should all be 1st team and POY, but seems like most are undervalued here.


Drake London was all that. Thibodeaux had a good season, but Lloyd had a better one.

Surprised to see one Ute on the first team all offense given the gaudy numbers the offense generated this year (and the 8-1 Conference).

FWIW, the Ducks really didn’t fare any better. What is interesting is how U$C ended up owning the first team offense - and didn’t even get bowl eligible. Based on that fact, the recognitions are really meaningless. Just a bunch of bias.

Not bulletin board material. More like ignore material.


What I have not done is look at who in the Pac-12 were players of the week, on D, O and ST, for the entire season. I recall the Utes scoring a lot of hits on those weekly awards throughout the season.

The other issue that really stands out for me, Utah led the conference in scoring per conference game with UCLA close behind and also leads the conference in points allowed. On scoring margin per conference game, Utah is like +17 points, while the nearest to Utah is UCLA at 8.3 and Oregon at like 5.5 point margin. More importantly, Utah is the only one loss team in conference play. Oregon has two losses and the other teams have 3 or more.

And all of that given Utah’s Special Teams issues and having the season starting QB quit after three games.

Still, all of these numbers tell one interesting story, to me that is this: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.


USC scored a lot of points but their defense held only 3 teams under 30 all year.

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I don’t know why I can open it–I don’t subscribe to the Oregonian. I’m probably just that much cooler than you.

I’ve posted some snips in a post below.

Excerpts from the Oregonian article (which seems to be paywalled):

The Utes rebounded from a 1-2 start with Baylor transfer Charlie Brewer at quarterback to win a Pac-12 Conference South title with Cameron Rising taking over for the last nine games.

Utah is every bit the physically dominant team that thrashed Oregon on Nov. 20. The Utes have a great offensive line to open lanes for the running game and protect Rising, and their tight ends make the offense go. Their front seven is probably the best in the Pac-12, certainly at the linebacker position.

Kyle Whittingham is probably the front-runner for Pac-12 coach of the year.

Impact player: QB Cameron Rising

Rising’s 17-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio is outrageous — only three quarterbacks in the country are better. He’s not going to stretch the field vertically, but that’s not how Utah is built anyway. Rising gets the ball to his tight ends, receivers and running backs and lets them do the work.

Impact player: TE Brant Kuithe

Kuithe has 43 catches for 522 yards and six scores and a rushing touchdown. Few players have had better showings against Oregon in their careers than Kuithe.

Impact player: ILB Devin Lloyd

Lloyd is a constant playmaker. He has 99 tackles with 22 for loss, including eight sacks, three interceptions and six pass breakups. Even with a mere six tackles and one for loss against Oregon, he had a big impact on the game.

Impact player: LB Nephi Sewell

If Lloyd isn’t making the stop again the run, Sewell is. Overlooked in the Pac-12 but having a tremendous season.

Did you know?

  • Utah has averaged 218.2 rushing yards per game in the last six games, while holding opponents to 119.5 yards on the ground.
  • Utah is one of six Power Five teams and the only one in the Pac-12 ranked in the top 30 in scoring offense and scoring defense.
  • The Pac-12 North is 9-1 in the conference championship game.
  • Of the six rematches to occur in Pac-12 Championship games, five have been won by the regular season winner. The lone exception was Oregon in 2014 against Arizona.

Threat level (1 lowest to 5 highest): 5

Utah thoroughly handled Oregon just 13 days before this rematch and it’s hard to forecast a total reversal in such a short span. Once the game got away from the Ducks, there was no turning back and certain circumstantial aspects of the first meeting, specifically not establishing the run early, can be corrected in a rematch. But Utah’s line play was superb. Its tight ends gave Oregon fits. The Utes aren’t going to forget who they are or what got them to this point and suddenly run four- and five-wide receivers on the field. Oregon lost every facet of the game in Salt Lake City, so improvement alone won’t be enough to get redemption.

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I am mildly surprised Utah is once again a 3-point favorite.


Our Utes must no longer play as the Under dog, but as the Top dog!
We know how to be the under dog and win those games. That is what got us here. However, to be a champion we must embrace the change and mindset that we are the top dog. Coach Whitt has struggled with that, see 2019. I’m not saying fire him either. He is a great coach and glad to have him.

But this week we must cross that threshold and be top dog. Knowing we will get everyone’s best shots. We must come out swinging hard and not looking back. I believe we can do that, but 2019 still lingers in the back of my mind. Time to erase the past. What’s past is prologue. Go Utes! Be the champions I know we are.

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I assume that Oregon will not come into the CCG expecting to win using the same game plan they brought to SLC. I’m curious what some of the more experienced football strategists on the board think the game plan will be. Thoughts?

On thing of which I am certain, Thibodeaux will be highly motivated, and his defensive coaching staff will have evaluated how Utah controlled him, and will have some new wrinkles of some kind.

The Utah coaching staff went into the last game very well prepared, I hope they are equally prepared for whatever Oregon throws at them Friday. It’s time we win one of these!!!


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The whole thing reminds me of the 2009 sugar bowl. The way we want that game was we came out and punched Alabama in the mouth, then kept punching until they quit. It is likely this way of doing things will work on Friday against Oregon.


This is (to me) a very interesting article about how the team’s leaders understand the need to avoid allowing the pressure, the spotlight, and the setting of the game to derail them. That’s my biggest worry about this Friday’s game.


We had this discussion at some point. By we, I mean the board. For whatever reason, our Utes historically play better as underdogs (in their minds) than favorites.

I agree with your premise, but something has to change in the team or coaching staff’s mentality to play like they expect to win every game. Have that built in swagger that they don’t care what you do, we’ll do it better. We don’t care if you know what we’ll do, we’re still gonna do it, and do it better than you.


Utah 34. Nikegon 31

Utah 38

Whoregon 17

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Utah 99 - 2. Oregon doesn’t bring the right cleats.


Swagger is the best description for what is needed. I think this game will define that for the team. It is difficult to change a mentality. I’m newer and missed that previous discussion. I’m glad I’m not alone in that thought. Here is to some new swagger in our step.