All the dominoes are falling for No. 6 Utah to sneak into the College Football Playoff but first they had to take care of business at home on Saturday night. Consider it taken care of as the Utes dominated in all three phases to knock over Colorado 45-15 and punch their ticket to the Pac-12 Championship Game in the process.
Leading the way as they have all year long were a pair of seniors in their final game at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Quarterback Tyler Huntley was nearly perfect (as in 14-of-17) in throwing for 165 yards and two touchdowns plus 27 more yards on the ground off scrambles. Fellow Florida native Zach Moss overcame a minor injury in the first half to record 88 yards rushing and a trip to the end zone to tie the school’s single-season record for rush touchdowns at 15.
As good as those two were though, tight end Brant Kuithe might have actually been the best player on the team, scampering 59 yards with a score running the ball while notching 63 yards and two more touchdowns through the air. He was all over the field and helped contribute to the run game with several nice blocks that opened up lanes for others as well.
Oh then there was the trademark defense and special teams in action too. The former unit recorded five sacks and held the Buffs under four yards a play, looking stout despite allowing their first second half touchdown at home in all of 2019. Oh, and Demari Simpkins ran a punt back 66 yards to really break things open in the third quarter.
Such an all-around effort made it a tough night for Mel Tucker’s crew as they finished the season at 5-7. Though they struck early and remained competitive for the most part, it just not enough to come close to a team hitting on all cylinders. QB Steven Montez was punished on seemingly every snap and did well to throw for 157 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Alex Fontenot chipped in with 49 yards rushing but didn’t see much action as the score got away from them.
As a result of all that, Utah clinched their second straight Pac-12 South title and will head off to Levi’s Stadium to take on Oregon next Friday night. Obviously much of the discussion on the final regular season Saturday revolved around the Utes’ playoff chances but Kyle Whittingham won’t be looking ahead to anything beyond the Ducks with a bit of revenge on their minds after coming so close to hoisting the conference championship trophy a year ago.
Win that one in the Bay Area six days from now and the team will have done all they possibly could have as one of the most complete teams in the running for the final four continues to look like a buzzsaw nobody wants to face.