SALT LAKE CITY — Reviewing preseason predictions for the native faculty soccer groups, this a lot is evident: one group exceeded expectations, to the purpose of virtually perfection, whereas the 2 combined constructive with destructive to provide disappointing outcomes.
Beginning with the nice, which is definitely nice, Utah loved its finest and most dominant regular-season since starting Pac-12 play 9 years in the past. As exhausting as it’s to exceed a forecast of 10-2 general and 7-2 in convention video games, the Utes did it in spectacular vogue.
Just about, all issues thought-about, the Utes did the almost unimaginable. Virtually a unanimous decide to win the South Division, they obliterated all however USC within the South and gained the division going away.
Something lower than a Rose Bowl bid was going to be thought-about a disappointment. The Utes fell brief, dropping to Oregon within the Pac-12 championship, however one postseason recreation doesn’t diminish the excellent common season.
Utah was completely sensational on protection, as anticipated, with seven seniors and junior cornerback Jaylon Johnson fulfilling their collective potential. After failing to execute correctly within the loss to USC, the protection keyed an eight-game successful streak to shut the common season.
As anticipated, Utah dominated the first-team all-conference awards. 5 gamers, together with repeat winners Jaylon Johnson, Leki Fotu and Bradlee Anae, had been named to the primary crew.
Johnson, a three-year starter, had the defensive play of the season within the convention. Along with his crew trailing within the third quarter towards Washington in Seattle, Johnson returned an interception for a landing in a play that modified the momentum of the sport and catapulted the Utes to their finest convention win of the season.
The play of quarterback Tyler Huntley and operating again Zack Moss, together with sensible play-calling by coordinator Andy Ludwig, led to the offense’s best output since becoming a member of the convention. Moss was named the Pac-12 Offensive Participant of the Yr, whereas Huntley was chosen as the highest quarterback.
Rebounding from a dropping report two years in the past, the Cougars went 6-6 final 12 months and made a one-game enchancment to complete 7-5 this season. Even with thrilling extra time wins towards Tennessee and USC, demolishing Utah State and beautiful Boise State, BYU not less than ought to have met my prediction of 8-4.
No approach the Cougars ought to have gone 0-Three towards Toledo, South Florida and San Diego State. Shedding to the Aztecs isn’t embarrassing, however not getting a landing qualifies as unacceptable.
Toledo completed the season dropping 5 of its final seven video games, together with by a mixed 98-37 to Buffalo and Central Michigan. At 4-8, USF was unhealthy sufficient to fireside coach Charlie Sturdy.
Accidents to quarterback Zach Wilson and three operating backs additionally took their toll. Quarterbacks Baylor Romney and Jaren Corridor performed nicely in spurts, however dipping down that far within the depth chart at operating again was an excessive amount of to beat.
No less than the rising pains got here with a beginning lineup on either side of the soccer that listed solely a complete of six seniors. The crew will want extra expertise to get via a schedule subsequent season that features seven Energy 5 opponents along with Houston, Boise State, Utah State and San Diego State.
The thought that Utah State would finish at 9-3, 6-2, was not shut, because it went 7-5, 5-3. Even with an impending bowl invitation, the Aggies upset this season.
Blowout losses to Air Pressure, BYU and Boise State had been notably unsettling. Fortuitously, the Aggies received one-score wins over San Diego State, Fresno State and Wyoming.
Essentially the most stunning facet of the season was the play of Jordan Love. The junior quarterback had 16 interceptions to go along with solely 17 landing passes.
The preseason favourite to win Mountain West Convention Participant of the Yr, Love was not named to both the first-team or second-team postseason record. He already has declared for the upcoming NFL draft.
Ultimately, after dropping the majority of the beginning items off an 11-2 crew final season, the Aggies had been respectable sufficient however fell in need of their objectives.