Take aways from the Utah Michigan game

Gionno Paul

Take aways from the Utah Michigan game


Utah recorded an impressive 26-10 win over Michigan on Saturday. Michigan is clearly down and their offense is terrible. A lot of that just might have to do with how well Utah’s defense played. Also, Utah’s special teams shined with a punt return for a TD and 4 field goals – some of which were not chip shots. The win puts the Utes at 3-0 and gives them all sorts of confidence heading into Pac-12 play. Clearly the Utes should win at least 3 or 4 games in conference and return to a bowl game. They might even surpass that. I went back and watched the game again Sunday morning and here is what I saw.


  • Jared Norris, Gionni Paul, Tevin Carter and Nate Orchard are ball hawks on defense. These guys fly to the ball and hit hard – and often. We all knew about Nate Orchard already and I’d been hearing all summer how much of a bummer it was Gionni Paul was injured in Spring ball. Now we see why. All four of these guys were a lot of fun to watch. Paul is only gonna make the team even stronger


  • As mentioned above – special teams played unreal. I think Kaelin Clay already has 3 returns for touchdowns this year. And the US ski team team/turned money place kicker is nearly can’t-miss.


  • Travis Wilson going airborne was a cool effort but really not that smart a play when you saw how far from the first down marker he was. With his medical history, I’m sure everyone in Red was thinking, “just step out of bounds and live to see another day!” It’s easy for arm chair quarterbacks like me to second guess these guys. The thing is – they are the ones in the middle of a very violent sport and their instincts take over. Travis had a really powerful run in the second half when he came back into the game. His teammates loved it. You can tell the team respects him. They feed off his leadership. (kind of how BYU feeds off Taysom’s toughness) I sure would like to see Travis stay healthy all year.


  • Much like BYU’s curb stomping of Texas in 2013 was the nail in the coffin for Mack Brown – I think Utah completely manhandling Michigan is the beginning of the end for Brady Hoke. He was already on the hot seat but you could just feel the air being sucked out of the “Big House.” Unless he goes on a tear and beats Ohio State, Hoke will likely not survive. When the rains really started coming down and they suspended play – the announcer said something like – “When we do resume play, there won’t be a threat of people getting struck by lightning because there aren’t gonna be any people left in the stands.” Not sure he was trying to kill Michigan but the statement spoke volumes. People were already heading for the exits, rain or not. Utah simply went in there and beat up a storied college football program.




Matt Nielson has been writing about the college sports landscape in Utah and the Intermountain West since 2010. When he’s not pretending to be a professional blogger, he works full time as a residential real estate agent and house flipper. Matt graduated from Brigham Young University in 2000. He and his family reside in Salt Lake City, UT.


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