Midseason report: Utah


Record: 2-4, 0-3

The good news for Utah is last season, the Utes' first in the Pac-12, also began with a terrible start. And it's always nice to beat BYU.

The bad news is the second-half schedule seems less forgiving. And the Utes haven't looked good on either side of the ball.

It started with Jordan Wyhnn. The star-crossed quarterback struggled early, then saw shoulder injuries end his career. Jon Hays stepped in, but the Utes went with true freshman Travis Wilson at UCLA. Didn't help much.

The problem is that a preseason concern proved founded. The Utes were replacing two quality offensive tackles, and no one distinguished themselves in the competition to fill the holes. Toss in a couple of injuries, and the line woes have become glaring. Last season, running back John White was able to turn a small crease into a gain. This season, he's been banged up and there are no creases.

The defense has been mostly solid, but it's not dominant enough to carry the team.

Can the Utes pull off another second-half reversal and earn bowl eligibility? It probably depends on the offensive line manning up and Wilson growing up.

Offensive MVP, WR Dres Anderson: Got to admit, this was a hard one. You could make an argument -- and many Utes fans would -- that there is no offensive MVP. Based on the numbers, it could go to backup quarterback Hays, who has seven TD passes, but he's been benched. White is one of the best running backs in the Pac-12, but he's averaging 3.9 yards per carry and has one touchdown. So that makes Anderson, the Utes' leading receiver, MVP by default. He's caught 22 passes for 233 yards with two touchdowns. He's also rushed four times for 33 yards.

Defensive MVP, DT Star Lotulelei: Lotulelei has battled double teams all season, but he's continued to control the middle. The Utes' inconsistency on defense isn't his fault. He's recorded 24 tackles, six tackles for a loss and two sacks. He's also forced two fumbles and blocked a field goal against BYU.