Where Does 4-2 Utah Stand Halfway Through The Season?
SALT LAKE CITY- Utah sits at 4-2 at the halfway mark of the 2022 season and in a somewhat similar situation to where they were this time last year. With the College Football Playoff firmly off the table after last weekend’s loss to UCLA, where does that leave the Utes?
— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) October 9, 2022
If last year is any indication, the Utes still have a chance to go to the Pac-12 Conference Championship, play in a Rose Bowl and end the year as one of the better teams in the country, but the work has to start this weekend and there is absolutely no more room for error.
While these things are all still very possible, they are also easier said than done. #7 USC is the next opponent on Utah’s schedule, and they have seen a glow-up since the last time Utah faced them. The Trojans currently sit 6-0 and seem to be hitting their stride whereas Utah hasn’t quite figured themselves out just yet. The potential is there, but can it be realized?
Comparing the 2021 Utes To 4-2 Utah
Head coach Kyle Whittingham has mentioned a few times how closely the 2021 squad and this year’s squad mirror each other to this point in the season.
Last year the Utes were sitting at 3-2 heading into the weekend of October 16th against #18 Arizona State. This year, Utah is 4-2 heading into a big game against #7 USC on October 15th.
Last year, Utah was coming off a big win against USC after their tragic BYE week where they had to process and deal with the murder of teammate Aaron Lowe. In 2022, the Utes are coming off a disappointing 42-32 loss to #18 UCLA heading into a weekend that will be spent remembering Lowe and Ty Jordan.
Proud of these guys. Time to get back to work. pic.twitter.com/efGbY69dhU
— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) October 8, 2022
Heading into the Arizona State game last season at 3-2, the Utes were 10th in the Pac-12 in third down conversion, 5th in third down conversion defense, 3rd in first down defense, 8th in passing offense, 5th in passing yards allowed, 6th in red zone defense, 5th in rushing defense, 11th in red zone offense, 6th in scoring offense, 7th in total offense and 3rd in total defense.
This year, the Utes are 4th in the conference in third down conversion, 2nd in third down conversion defense, 2nd in first down defense, 8th in passing offense, 1st in passing yards allowed, 3rd in red zone defense, 6th in rushing defense, 5th in red zone offense, 4th in scoring offense, 5th in total offense and 1st in total defense.
Every category except for passing offense and rushing defense has improved from this time last season. Passing offense has stayed the same at 8th in the Pac-12 and rushing defense is barely different with the Utes being 5th a year ago and 6th this season.
What Does This All Mean?
It’s a great question that won’t really have an answer till the end of the season. The real point being is that Utah had historically one of its greatest seasons ever last year sitting in a very similar spot to where they are now. Frankly, they are actually sitting in a much better spot than they were a year ago both statistically and situationally. It’s also very important to note that the Utes have played much better competition so far this season than last season and most of the stat points have either improved from a year ago or stayed the same.
Utah just needs to find that fire, that spark that makes a good team turn special. They haven’t found that yet, but last year proves there is time, just not a lot more time.
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