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Pac-12 Championship Game Summary: Utah Routs Oregon -- Again

Utes head to the Rose Bowl for the first time in school history

No. 17 Utah defeated No. 10 Oregon 38-10 in the Pac-12 football championship game Friday night at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. It earned Utah a berth in the Rose Bowl for the first time in school history.

Two weeks ago, Utah beat Oregon 38-7 in Salt Lake City. In the two games 13 days apart, Utah outscored the Ducks 76-17.

The week before Oregon and Utah met the first time, the Ducks were 9-1, ranked No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings and in line to play in the four-team national championship playoff.

It's difficult to believe this is the same Oregon team that beat Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, on September 11.

Here are the facts of the Pac-12 championship game:


RECORDS: UTAH (10-3, 8-1 Pac-12), OREGON (10-3, 7-2 Pac-12)

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Tough call, because no Utah player stood out. So we give it to the Utah defense, which shut out Oregon in the first half and limited the Ducks to embarrassing offensive numbers over the first three quarters. Oregon got some garbage yardage and a touchdown in the closing minutes.

TURNING POINT: Utah led 7-0 before Utes linebacker Devin Lloyd intercepted an Anthony Brown pass and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown that put Utah in control 14-0 with 4:16 left in the first quarter.

KEY PLAY 1: On a third-and-12 play from the Oregon 17-yard line, Ducks defensive back Mykael Wright was called for pass interference on a pass intended for Jaylen Dixon, giving Utah a first down on the Oregon 2-yard line. On the next play, Tavion Thomas ran 2 yards for a touchdown, giving Utah a 7-0 lead with 10:47 left in the first quarter. That 61-yard scoring drive also included a 2-yard quarterback sneak by Cameron Rising on a fourth-and-1 play from the Utah 48-yard line and a 22-yard pass completion to Britain Covey that moved  the ball to the Oregon 15-yard line.

KEY PLAY 2: Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd intercepted an Anthony Brown pass at the Oregon 34-yard line and returned it for a touchdown that gave the Utes a 14-0 lead with 4:16 remaining in the first period.

KEY PLAY 3: On a third-and-8 play from the Oregon 38-yard line, Ducks linebacker Noah Sewell intercepted a Cameron Rising pass at the Oregon 24-yard line and returns it 22 yards to the 46-yard line early in the second quarter. It thwarted a Utah scoring bid.

KEY PLAY 4: Oregon kicker Camden Lewis missed a 44-yard field-goal attempt. Two plays before that, Oregon was penalized 5 yards on a third-and-2 play from the Utah 21-yard line, making it third-and-7.

KEY PLAY 5: Utah missed an opportunity to add to its lead when a Cameron Rising pass on a first-and-10 play from the Oregon 30-yard line was intercepted by Verone McKinley III with 5:40 left in the half. Christian Williams hit Rising on the throw, sending it straight up.

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KEY PLAY 6: Utah's Cameron Rising completed a 29-yard pass to tight end Dalton Kincaid on a third-and-14 play from the Oregon 40-yard line, putting ball at the Oregon 11-yard line with 34 seconds remaining in the first half. On the next play, Rising threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Kincaid with 27 seconds left, putting Utah ahead 20-0 (two-point conversion attempt failed).

KEY PLAY 7:  Utah's Malone Mataele intercepted an Anthony Brown pass at the Oregon 40-yard line with 8 seconds left in the first half. Two plays later, Jason Redding made a 50-yard field goal on the final play of the half to give the Utes a 23-0 lead.

KEY PLAY 8: Oregon's Camden Lewis kicked a 42-yard field goal to reduce the deficit to 23-3 with 10:32 to go in the third quarter.

KEY PLAY 9: Utah quarterback ran 41 yards to the Oregon 4-yard line. One play later, T.J. Pledger ran 4 yards for a touchdown that made it 31-3 in favor of the Utes with 6:33 left in the third quarter (Rising ran for the two-point conversion).

KEY PLAY 10: Tavion Thomas ran 3 yards for a touchdown that made it 38-3 with 10:21 left in the game.

STAT OF THE GAME: Utah outgained Oregon 208-65 in the first half, 

STAT OF THE GAME 2: Utah had 15 first downs in the first half, and Oregon had three.

QUARTERBACK STATS: Utah’s Cameron Rising was 15-for-24 for 170 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also ran nine times for 61 yards. Oregon’s Anthony Brown was 13-for-24 for 147 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran 10 times for minus-5 yards.

RUNNING BACK STATS: Utah’s Tavion Thomas ran 18 times for 63 yards and two touchdowns. Oregon’s Travis Dye carried 15 times for 82 yards and a touchdown, and had four catches for 24 yards.

WHAT IT MEANS: Utah will be going to the Rose Bowl for the first time in school history. Oregon probably will go to the Alamo Bowl. It will be an embarrassing finish to the Ducks' season unless they have a strong showing in their bowl game, and there will continue to be speculation about Mario Cristobal's possible interest in the Miami job. This not a happy time for Ducks Nation. It also means people will wonder whether Utah could compete favorably against any of the four teams that wind up in the College Football Playoff. The Utes started the season 1-2, but have won six straight games and are 9-1 with Cameron Rising as their starting quarterback.

NEXT GAME: Utah will play in the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl in Pasadena against Iowa or Ohio State. Oregon is expected to play in the Dec. 29 Alamo Bowl, probably against Oklahoma, although the Ducks' spot in the Alamo Bowl is not guaranteed. If Iowa beats Michigan in Saturday's Big Ten Championship game, Utah's Rose Bowl opponent will be Iowa. If Michigan beats Iowa, Ohio State would be Utah's Rose Bowl foe. The Sooners might be the Alamo Bowl opponent regardless of whether Baylor or Oklahoma State wins the Big 12 title game.


Cover photo of Utah's Cameron Rising by Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports


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