Utah beat Colorado 28-13 in its regular-season finale on Friday, improving its record to 9-3 overall and 8-1 in Pac-12 play.
Up next for the Utes is the Pac-12 championship game on Dec. 3.
Here are the grades from the Utes’ win:
Maybe it was a Thanksgiving hangover or the knowledge that they already had the Pac-12 South division locked up, but the Utes came out flat on offense.
Cam Rising threw an interception, his first since Oct. 16, on Utah’s first drive of the game, and the Utes scored no points in the first quarter for the first time since Sep. 25 against Washington State (Jadon Redding also missed a field goal try).
The defense only surrendered six points — Colorado’s only touchdown of the day came on a kickoff return touchdown.
Three of those points can’t really be pinned on the defense, as the unit was given tough field position after Rising’s interception on the first series of the game gave Colorado the ball on the Utah 15-yard line.
But the ensuing Colorado series set the defensive tone for the rest of the night.
The Utes stuffed Colorado running back Alex Fontenot, then forced two incompletions, holding the Buffaloes to a field goal.
The only other points scored by the Colorado offense were on a short field, as the Utes went for it on fourth down and didn’t make it near the end of the first half and Colorado went 39 yards in nine plays.
Buffaloes quarterback Brendon Lewis converted two third downs with his legs on that drive in pretty much the only negative moment for the defense, but Utah still stopped Colorado and forced a 56-yard field goal attempt to end the half, which Cole Becker nailed.
The Buffaloes were missing some key players on offense — leading running back Jarek Broussard and leading receiver Brenden Rice.
Lewis was 9-for-23 for just 84 yards and was sacked four times. Fontenot was Colorado’s leading rusher with just 28 yards.
Utah’s linebacker duo of Nephi Sewell and Devin Lloyd led the way yet again. Sewell had 10 tackles with one tackle for loss, while Lloyd had nine tackles with a sack.
Clark Phillips III and Zemaiah Vaughn had nice pass breakups, and Hayden Furey had two pass breakups.
Lloyd, Mika Tafua, Van Fillinger and Aliki Vimahi each had a sack.
It was another great performance from the defense.
After a great showing against Oregon in which the unit had a huge blocked field goal, a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown courtesy of Covey and a made field goal by Jadon Redding, the Utah special teams unit regressed heavily against Colorado.
Redding’s only field goal attempt of the game, a 37-yarder, was blocked by Terrance Lang.
To start the second half, Utah gave up a 100-yard kick return touchdown — the Utes’ third allowed kick return touchdown of the season — as Nikko Reed took the kick to the house to cut the Utes’ lead to one point.
Utah missed multiple tackles on the return.
Covey had 31 yards on four punt returns, including a 16-yard return, plus a 29-yard kickoff return.
Michael Willams had his longest punt of the season, 50 yards, on his only punt of the game.