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It’s been a long road to Allegiant Stadium for the No. 17 Utes, but when game time arrived on Dec. 3 against the No. 10 Oregon Ducks, Utah dominated the competition to give their program new life. … which they did, in a 38-10 blowout of the Ducks before a crowd of nearly 60,000. The Utes earned their first Pac-12 title in the program’s history.
Utah (10–3, 9–1 in Pac-12) kept Oregon scoreless in the first half; meanwhile, the Utes began to pound their way to 361 yards of total offense. Even with a tepid performance from Utah QB Cameron Rising, finishing the game with 170 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
“Proud of these guys… we have great leadership on this team, we went through, the adversity,” Whittingham noted to ESPN. “It’s [Rose Bowl] surreal. So proud of our guys. They deserve this experience.”
Luckily the team didn’t need the offense to overshadow a stellar defensive performance.
Utes linebacker Devin Lloyd received the game’s MVP honors and helped commemorate two former Utah players whose lives were tragically lost.
“This is for Ty [Jordan] and Aaron [Lowe],” Lloyd added. “Ty, Aaron, we love y’all, this is for ya’ll. The adversity we faced, everyone bought in throughout the whole season, we came out on top.”
As for their eventual date to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl appearance, Whittingham said the team must now keep their winning ways by treating the game like any other.
“We had the same mentality and mindset and focus and that look in their eye that they had two weeks ago,” Whittingham said. “And I think in either of those games, I don’t think it would have mattered who we were playing. These guys were absolutely locked in and on a mission, and they were not going to be denied.”
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela