GAME DAY GRADES: Football vs. Utah Tech
Updated: Oct 28
The Wildcats were back home under the lights of Stewart Stadium on Saturday night to face their first FCS opponent of the young season in the Utah Tech Trailblazers.
If you listened to our football Game Day Show, you'll know that we were keen to see how the Blazers' "Spread and Shred" passing offense would stack up against a stiff Wildcat secondary and defensive line.
Our panel handed out grades for the offense, defense, and special teams after a convincing win over the Blazers to go 3-0 for the first time since 1998.
Offense (B+): The offense continued to show improvement. They came right out of the gate, attacking the one on one matchups down the sideline and scoring 14 quick points. It looked like they were going to run away with it. But things stalled in the second quarter and a number of red zone opportunities turned in to 3 and not 7 points. The Wildcats won by a healthy margin, but were just 5/10 scoring a TD in the red zone. Three of the Wildcats’ ten red zone visits resulted in field goals, but those drives all ended on the Utah Tech 7, 8, and 12 yard lines. It was also painful to see the Wildcats stopped on the 1 yard line and turn it over on downs. However, alarms should not be ringing in Ogden. The offense will no doubt improve again next week against Davis and there’s a lot of season to play.
Defense (A-): The secondary had a tall order ahead of them with the best passing offense in the country coming to Ogden. I felt they largely handled it, giving up just 245 yards through the air against a squad that put up 506 yards and 33 points against defending Big Sky champion Sac State two weeks prior.The pass rush was ferocious, getting to Utah Tech QB Kobe Tracy often with a pile of hurries and knock downs, in spite of only logging 3 sacks. Tech WR Joey Hobert did a lot of damage in the first half, but the coaching staff shut him down in the second, making him a non-factor in the 3rd and 4th quarters. The defense also held Tech to 4/20 on 3rd down conversions, continuing to be one of the stingiest in the country. However, they allowed the Trailblazers to convert 4th downs 3 out of 4 times. Finally, the run defense allowed just 84 yards on the ground. Another solid outing for one of the best defenses the Wildcat fans have probably ever seen.
Special Teams (A-): Special Teams continues to improve, but I did have one complaint. Early in the game, with Weber State up 14-0, the defense forced a three and out. During the punt, a Wildcat defender ran in to the punter, gifting Utah Tech a first down and the momentum they needed to continue the drive to score. They would score again on their next drive, giving them a bit of confidence. I firmly believe that if that penalty doesn’t happen, the Wildcats would have been up big at the half, crushing the Trailblazers early and leaving no doubt. That penalty didn’t end up mattering up in the grand scheme of things. But in close games against conference foes, that kind of mistake can make all the difference between winning and losing.
Offense (B): Coach Mental’s offense is coming to full light and it’s fun to watch. It is balanced and both passing and running works well. TMac and Bronson Barron have some phenomenal chemistry going this season and the deep and fade passes are working well. Red Zone scoring continues to be an issue that could come back to haunt the team against better opponents.
Defense (A): The Defense is nasty in a good way. They gave up some passing yards, but it was still about half of the offensive production that Utah Tech has had in prior games this season. The D Line knocked down Koby Tracy repeatedly and kept him guessing. Combine that with the traditionally stout secondary and you have a great defensive performance. It’s nit picky... but the unnecessary Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalties are again something that come back to haunt the team against better opponents.
Special Teams (B): Haze Hadley may have been my overall MVP of the game with his punt returns. It flips the field in favor of Weber State and is a huge help. Punt return gets an A. The missed FG wasn’t a deal breaker, but as has been mentioned above... does something like that cost us in a more important game? Possibly yes. Also- I appreciate the aggressiveness in trying to block the punts, but if you do that you can’t commit the penalty. So a few things to clean up, but overall good.
Offense (A-): Look this was solid. Bronson was airing it out. He looked really really good. Bankston was running all over them. This isn’t an A because we did not take enough advantage of good field position. This seems to have been a trend over the first few weeks. If we don’t take advantage of good positions the better teams will beat us. But we’ve all been waiting to see this Bronson, I was impressed. He got the ball out quickly and scrambled when needed.
Defense (B): This was a tale of two halves. The first half grade would have been a C and the Second half grade would be an A. So we’ll average it out and give them a B. The secondary was a bit soft in the first half, but took advantage of Utah Tech’s scheme in the second half. Abraham Williams was incredible. I don’t blame him for the fumble, that was straight up an effort play by 12 on Tech. All issues I saw in the first half disappeared in the second half, but we need to be more complete. A better team would take advantage of our sloppy play.
Special Teams (C+): Ugh. Haze is Incredible. Shaheed who? (just kidding) The penalties are an issue. We need to be disciplined. We can’t give teams extra downs. The Big Sky is too good to make stupid penalties. Though each week they are getting better. Let’s hope we work on the penalties against Davis.