Postgame Notes: No. 17 Utah vs. No. 10 Oregon
2021 Pac-12 Championship Game presented by 76
No. 17 Utah 38, No. 10 Oregon 10
Las Vegas, Nev. (Allegiant Stadium)
Fri., Dec. 3, 2021
Kick: 5:15 p.m. PT | End: 8:31 p.m.
Pac-12 Championship MVP: Devin Lloyd, Utah
- Making its third appearance in the conference title game (2018, '19, '21), Utah won its first Pac-12 Championship in program history. The Utes joined the conference in 2011.
- All-time, Utah has won 27 conference championships in football, including as members of the Pac-12 (1), Mountain West (4), WAC (2), Skyline Conference (5), Big Seven (5) and Rocky Mountain Conference (10). It is the first conference title for the Utes since winning the 2008 Mountain West crown.
- Since being named head coach in 2005, head coach Kyle Whittingham has led Utah to two conference championships (2008 Mountain West, 2021 Pac-12).
- Utah delivered Oregon its first loss when playing in the Pac-12 Championship Game. The Ducks had been 4-0 since the conference added the championship game in 2011.
- Senior safety Brandon McKinney (Utah 2021, Washington 2018) became the first player to appear with multiple teams in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Since 1996, there are only two other known players to have appeared in a conference championship for two different teams, both in the SEC:
- Nick Marshall (Georgia '11, Auburn '13)
- Brenton Cox Jr. (Georgia '18, Florida '20)
- Utah's 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter matches the largest for a Pac-12 Football Championship Game and most since the first held championship game in 2011. Oregon led UCLA 21-7 in the first such game in 2011.
- Junior LB Devin Lloyd was named the game's MVP (7 tackles, 5 solo, 1 INT-TD)
- Utah won its 10th game of the season. Under Whittingham, the Utes have six 10-win seasons (2008, '09, '10, '15, '19, '21).
- Dating back to 2020, Utah has won four straight games over AP-ranked opponents. The Utes last had four straight AP-ranked wins in a span from 1994-96.
- For the first time in recorded program history, Utah has won multiple games in the same season over top-10 AP-ranked teams.
- Utah now has three wins this season vs. top-25 AP-ranked teams (No. 18 Arizona State, No. 4 Oregon, No. 10 Oregon). The Utes last had three such wins in the 2008 campaign.
- Utah has won back-to-back games vs. Oregon for the first time since taking the 1991 and '94 matchups between the teams.
- Whittingham, the winningest leader in Utah football history, improved to 144-69 as head coach (2005-present). Including his time as an assistant (1994-2004), Whittingham has been part of 229 Utes victories, more than any other coach in program history.
- Utah has now held the lead at halftime in 10 of 13 games this season. Two of the Utes' three largest leads at the break this season have come vs. Oregon:
- Nov. 5 at Stanford: Utah 38, Stanford 0 (38 points)
- Nov. 20 vs. Oregon: Utah 28, Oregon 0 (28 points)
- Dec. 3 vs. Oregon: Utah 23, Oregon 0 (23 points)
- Between the regular season (1-for-6) and championship (0-for-5) matchups with Utah, Oregon was held to a combined 1-for-11 during the first half on third-down conversions and was outscored a combined 51-0 in that time. Oregon entered the Pac-12 Championship Game ranked No. 3 in FBS in third-down conversions (52.9%).
- Utah did not surrender a third-down conversion to Oregon until late in the third quarter, on the Ducks' eighth attempt.
- Oregon won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Utah defended the South goal to begin the game.
- Utah was joined on-field for the coin toss by honorary captain Donna Lowe, mother of the late Aaron Lowe.
- Sophomore quarterback Cameron Rising passed for a touchdown (11 yards to Dalton Kincaid) during the second quarter. Rising has passed for at least one score in three of Utah's last four games.
- Kincaid's touchdown reception was his team-leading seventh of the season. Kincaid is the first Utah tight end with seven receiving touchdowns in a season since at least 1996.
- Junior wide receiver Britain Covey had eight receptions in the game and now has 184 catches in his career as a Ute. Covey moved into No. 2 on the Utah career receptions list with the performance, passing Bryan Rowley (177 from 1989-93).
- Covey's 184 career receptions also leads all active players in the Pac-12.
- Covey has now caught at least one pass in 16 straight games and 43 of his 46 career games as a Ute.
- Sophomore running back Tavion Thomas crossed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season late in the second quarter. He now has 1,041 yards on 186 carries (5.6).
- Thomas added another three-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. It brings his season total to 20, extending his school single-season record.
- Thomas is the seventh player to rush for multiple touchdowns in Pac-12 Championship history and first since Oregon's CJ Verdell in 2019.
- Through Friday's game, Thomas has scored 14 of Utah's last 22 rushing touchdowns.
- Junior and fellow running back TJ Pledger had a four-yard scamper to the end zone in the third quarter, marking the first Pac-12 Championship Game that multiple Utes have rushed for a touchdown.
- Pledger's third quarter score was his sixth of the season, marking the first season since 2010 that Utah has had two running backs produce six or more rushing touchdowns.
- Utah scored on its game-opening drive for the seventh time this season (6 TD, 1 FG) and first time since the Arizona game (Nov. 13).
- Both of Oregon's two lowest total offensive outputs this season have come against Utah. It includes a 221-yard performance Friday night in the Pac-12 Championship, and 294 yards in the teams' Nov. 20 meeting in Salt Lake City.
- Junior linebacker Devin Lloyd had a 34-yard pick-six during the first quarter. It was Lloyd's second pick-six of the season (at Stanford) and third of his career.
- In three career games vs. Oregon, including two Pac-12 Championships, Lloyd averaged 7.3 tackles per contest with a high of nine stops in the 2019 title game. Totaled, Lloyd also had 2.0 TFL against the Ducks, one sack, and Friday's interception return touchdown.
- Lloyd's pick-six was the first by a Ute during a Pac-12 Championship Game, and first by any player in a Pac-12 Championship Game since 2018. Including Lloyd, there have now been four interceptions returned four touchdowns during the Pac-12 Championship Game all-time.
- As a team, Utah has now returned three interceptions for touchdowns this season, the first time since 2019 (four) that the Utes have accomplished this feat.
- Freshman safety Cole Bishop led the Utes with a game-high eight tackles (one sack), adding a pass breakup on the play immediately following the sack.
- Bishop now has 3.0 sacks on the season and 8.0 TFL, all in the last five games (since Stanford on Nov. 5).
- Bishop added a pass breakup on the next play after the sack, his fifth of the season--again all since the Stanford game.
- Sophomore linebacker Malone Mataele picked off Oregon quarterback Anthony Brown late in the second quarter for Mataele's first career interception.
- Freshman defensive tackle Tennessee Pututau recorded his first career sack during the third quarter.
- For the eighth time this season and second straight time vs. Oregon, Utah held its opponent scoreless on its game-opening drive.
- Oregon did not cross into Utah territory until the second quarter and was limited to 26 yards of total offense during the first quarter.
- Sophomore punter Michael Williams reset his career-long for the second straight game, and twice within Friday's game. Williams' first punt went for 53 yards during the first quarter, and he followed that with a 54-yarder in the third quarter. Both landed inside the Oregon 15-yard line.
- Williams had entered with a previous career-long punt of 50 yards during the Colorado game on Nov. 26.
- Sophomore Jadon Redding drilled a career-long 50-yard field goal as time expired on the first half.
- Since the Pac-12 Championship game began in 2011, only Redding and former Ute Matt Gay (53 in 2018) have made field goals of 50-plus yards in a Pac-12 Championship Game.
- Utah has produced points via special teams to end the first half in both of its 2021 matchups with Oregon. It includes Redding's field goal this evening as well as a 78-yard punt return touchdown by Britain Covey on Nov. 20 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.