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3 takeaways from Utah’s 38-10 Pac-12 championship win over Oregon

For the first time since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, the Utes have won the Pac-12 championship and will play in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. Here are three takeaways from the Utes’ win

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Utah Utes wide receiver Devaughn Vele and Utah Utes tight end Dalton Kincaid hug each other.

Utah Utes wide receiver Devaughn Vele (17) and Utah Utes tight end Dalton Kincaid (86) celebrate after Kincaid scored on the Oregon Ducks in the Pac-12 championship game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Utah is Rose Bowl bound.

For the first time since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, the Utes have won the Pac-12 championship and will play in the Rose Bowl in New Year’s Day.

Just like they did in their first matchup, the Utes blew the Ducks out of the water, dominating Oregon on both offense and defense in a 38-10 win.

The Utes have completed a stunning turnaround since starting 1-2 and will now play in the Granddaddy of Them All for the first time ever.

Here are three takeaways from the Utes’ win:

Utah’s defense rattles Anthony Brown ... again

It was a near mirror image of Utah’s 38-7 win against Oregon in November. Utah’s defense was simply dominant against the Ducks and quarterback Anthony Brown in particular.

Brown was rattled, throwing two interceptions. The first was a pick six by Devin Lloyd, who jumped the route and took it 34 yards to the house.

The second interception thrown by Brown was simply a poor decision. He was drifting toward the sidelines, then jumped, throwing it right before he landed out of bounds with eight seconds left in the first half.

The pass went right to Malone Mataele and set up a field goal as time expired in the first half. Utah went into the locker room with all of the momentum, up 23-0.

Just like the last meeting, Brown — who has had his ups and downs this season but led the Ducks to a prolific passing offense that ranked second in the conference — couldn’t get into a rhythm against the Utes.

He finished 13 for 24 for 147 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns. His quarterback rating, according to ESPN, was 7.7 out of a possible 100 points. Utah sacked him four times.

Brown also threw short of the marker on third down multiple times due to Utah’s coverage and pressure.

It was a fantastic game by all of Utah’s defense. Lloyd had perhaps his signature game as a Ute, delivering the pick six in the first quarter that put Utah up 14-0 and finishing with seven tackles.

Cole Bishop also had a great game with eight tackles and sack to lead Utah, and Van Fillinger made his presence known on the defensive line with seven tackles, half of a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss.

Utah responds impressively after both of Cam Rising’s interceptions

Cam Rising threw two interceptions on Friday, and both had a chance to swing the game in Oregon’s favor.

How Utah’s defense — and offense — responded after those two picks was impressive.

With 14:51 in the second quarter, Noah Sewell jumped the route and intercepted Rising. Utah was up 14-0, so a Ducks score would have changed the complexion of the game.

Brown then completed a 19-yard pass to Seven McGee, and Oregon got down to the Utah 29-yard line. Two run plays by the Ducks set up a third and 2 at the 21-yard line, but a false start by the Ducks backed it up to the 26-yard line.

Brown’s third and 7 pass was well-defended and incomplete, and Camden Lewis missed a 44-yard field goal.

On Utah’s ensuing drive, Rising was crunched and the ball floated in the air, with Verone McKinley III making an athletic diving interception.

Again, this had the potential to be a game-changing drive for Oregon.

This time, Utah’s defense forced a three-and-out. With Rising having thrown interceptions on the previous two drives, he could have been rattled, but instead, he led the Utes down the field on a 12-play, 74-yard touchdown drive with a 29-yard pass to Dalton Kincaid on third and 14 and a 11-yard touchdown pass to Kincaid that put Utah up 20-0.

It was a fantastic response by Rising to shake off the previous interceptions.

After the touchdown, Mataele intercepted Brown, Utah kicked a field goal and went into the half up 23-0.

Instead of crumbling, Utah responded with a game-changing series, one that may have won them the game right then and there.

Utah’s tight ends, as they’ve done all year, provide a spark in the offense

All season long, Utah’s tight ends have been a pivotal part of the Utes’ offense.

On Friday, Kincaid stepped up in a big way.

He had 61 yards on four catches and scored a touchdown. Rising threw a 29-yard pass to Kincaid on third and 14 on Utah’s ending touchdown drive in the first half.

On the same drive, Kincaid also caught an 11-yard touchdown pass to increase Utah’s lead to 20-0 before the half.

Kincaid also delivered a crucial block on Utah’s two-point conversion in the third quarter.

His play epitomized what Utah wants out of its tight ends — the ability to block well and to be a crucial part of the Utes’ passing offense.