Utah bullied and bludgeoned their way to the Pac-12 Championship, dominating Oregon for the second time in three weeks. Here's how it played out from Las Vegas.
Amid constant rumors about the future of Mario Cristobal and Oregon Football, the Ducks took the field Friday with an opportunity to win their third straight Pac-12 Championship game and clinch a second trip to the Rose Bowl in three seasons.
Oregon won the toss and deferred to the second half. Utah got the ball to start and the Ducks kicked it to Britain Covey, who took it out to the Utah 39 to start. The Utes got a conversion on fourth-and-1 and then were aided by a Mykael Wright pass interference penalty in the end zone. Utah scored on the next play, delivering the opening punch to go up 7-0.
A quick Oregon drive gave the ball back to Utah, who started at their own 31 after a DJ James facemask penalty on the tackle. Oregon’s defense got a stop but Anthony Brown gave it back on a terrible throw pick-six to give Utah a 14-0 lead.
At this point, the crowd was feeling it as Oregon had started just how they did in Utah just two weeks ago.
Oregon’s offense just failed to get things going after this, with more punts coming at the end of drives the yielded hardly any yardage. However the defense was able to snag interceptions on back-to-back drives. But Oregon’s offense still refused to put points on the board. Brow missed some wide open receivers that could have gone for huge gains throughout the game.
Before the end of the first half, Utah methodically drove the ball down the field for a touchdown, and that would do it for the first half. Or so we thought. The Ducks got the ball back and Brown threw an embarrassment of an interception, giving the Utes a chance to score again. Not long after the Utes tacked on three more with a field goal to make it 23-0 Utes going into the locker room at half.
The second half was simply more of the same from Oregon. They played with no fire, no intensity, and the play calling wasn’t fooling Utah at all. Utah was simply the better team in every phase of the game, and was deserving of the Pac-12 Championship. The Utes will now go to the Rose Bowl to play either Ohio State or Iowa.
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Now, the Oregon faithful will wait and see what happens with Mario Cristobal, who is reportedly being pursued by his alma mater Miami, as the program's next head coach.
We'll see how this all unfolds, but for Oregon, this was an embarrassment for the entire program.
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