Raider Ute’s Utah Football Season In Review


Oct 12, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes defensive end Trevor Reilly (9) reacts during the second half against the Stanford Cardinal at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Utah defeated Stanford 27-21. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s Note: Our Senior Contributor Raider Ute has decided to give us this holiday season, a gift of a review of the football season.  Please accept his offer of good tidings and joy.

In an effort to distract me from the bad mood I’m in about what will likely be yet another 4-12 Raiders season, I presume that now is as good of a time as any to review the 2013 version of the Ute football team.  People like lists nowadays, so I have a list of the memorable moments of the 2013 football season and you all can find a way to rank them as they are in no particular order.1. We must keep in mind that this season nearly ended before it began.

Hearken yourselves to the season opener against Utah State for a moment, in particular, the 2nd quarter or so, where Chuckie Keeton put in some serious work to eventually rattle off 20 unanswered points.  Perhaps you were thinking the same thing I was: this defense stinks to high heaven and I want to see some people fired, Steinbrenner style.

It then went from bad to worse when, during the midway point of the 3rd quarter, Karl Williams fumbles to give USU the ball and a 23-14 Aggie lead.  I’m not sure I want to contemplate the aftermath of what would have happened if USU scores on that drive, but it would have been a hot mess and then some.  Every Ute fan’s Twitter timelines would have been a complete disaster area, people would write off much, if not all, of the season which would have also lead to people writing op-eds in the Deseret News about how Kyle facilitated Travis Wilson faking an injury and saying he should have been fired.  Yes, that happened anyway, but still.

2. Thank the heavens above that Andy Phillips saved us all so we felt like the season had some meaning.

In many ways, it’s a shame that more teams don’t do this. There was that one year where everybody and their dog ran the wildcat in the NFL after the Dolphins destroyed New England with it, the rash of “let’s call a timeout just before a kicker makes a potential game altering FG” that needs to be abolished, but not the surprise onside kick. I’m sort of surprised that a team like Oregon that likes putting points on the board in a hurry wouldn’t give that a try.

As for Phillips’s impromptu onside kick, it’s fairly obvious that it changed the course of that game. It kept Keeton and the Aggieoffense off the field, but more importantly, it kept the season as a whole from becoming a huge tire fire.  I would have been fine with Marcus Mariota beating this team twice in a row.  Can’t quite say the same thing if Chuckie Keeton had that distinction.

3. That one time where Sean Mannion completed every single pass.  Yeah, I know, not literally, but you couldn’t be blamed for thinking so.

Think back for a moment if your mind so chooses to do so about how dominant Oregon State looked for about the first quarter and a half of that game.  The Utes were physically dominated on both sides of the ball, and if I hadn’t known any better, I would have thought the game was going to be a complete blowout.  You all did, too, don’t lie.

The straw that stirred this particular drink here was Travis Wilson’s very first pick six of the season to put the Beavers up 27-10 in the 3rd quarter.  Lesser Ute teams (and there have been many of those over the years) probably would have packed it in and looked ahead to next Saturday.  Not this team.  For a program that is still trying to find its footing in a very good conference–maybe even the best, just to send SEC fans into hissyfit mode–there’s something to be said for scoring 21 points in the 4th quarter to so little as force the game into overtime.  Particularly against a team that was pretty much destroying your team’s defense for most of the game.

4. Playcalling is one of those “things most sports fans really have no business or knowledge” complaining about, but I’m going to blatantly break that rule now.

As I was writing this portion of the season review, I couldn’t get the Utes OT possession in the Oregon St game out of my head.  For those of you who forgot, let me recant it for you: 1st down,  run by Poole for 2 yards.  2nd down, run by Poole, loss of 1.  3rd down, Wilson pass incomplete.  FG for the Utes which ultimately lead to Oregon State scoring the go ahead touchdown on a mere three plays.  This leads me to two thoughts:

–I think Kyle has a mentality during a game where he chooses to trust his defense.  Much of the time he’s right in doing so, but this was one of those cases where it looked like he was telling all involved “look, these guys are on the verge of putting up half a hunnerd on our defense, but like Lou Brown would have put it in ‘Major League’ I’ve got a hunch they’re due”.

–With that having been said, “run, run, pass” just seemed very McBride-ish to me.  It’s my own way of complaining about play calling without actually complaining about it, but certainly there had to be a better trio of plays than that.  Especially if the Utes score a TD on that possession.  If it were me, I would have prepared myself mentally & physically for some sort of ridiculous 6 or 7 OT game, but this is why I write about it on your blog instead of coach or play.

5. Eric Rowe nearly became the new Ryan Kaneishiro OR That Awkward Moment Where BYU Fans Realize They Aren’t Job and Freak Out.

Are we all to the point now where beating BYU is a consolation prize?  Good, so you can imagine the horror that nearly happened when with about 6 minutes left in the game, Eric Rowe gets called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, keeping a very key drive for BYU alive.  My first reaction to this was “oh, here we go.  The new 4th and 18 just happened”.  But fortunately for all parties involved, defenses ruled the day and with as solid as BYU’s defense happened to be, the Utes happened to be better.

Lest we forget, however, that the most enjoyable moment of any defeat over the Y is when BYU fans have that stunning realization that, yet again, they aren’t Job and just need to take a chill pill.  (If you don’t know who Job is, I’m not going to read the Old Testament for you.  I’m a busy man).  Sit back, relax and enjoy a good laugh as we all reminisce about the fact that many of the whines from the fans mentioned in this clip probably had ancestors that walked halfway across this country to get here.  On foot.

Part II tomorrow.