Oregon vs. Utah score, takeaways: No. 23 Utes dominate No. 3 Ducks, Pac-12 again out of playoff picture

When No. 3 Oregon and No. 23 Utah last met in the 2019 Pac-12 Championship Game, the Ducks won handily and wrecked the Utes' hopes of making the College Football Playoff. Utah got its revenge on Saturday night by clinching the Pac-12 South with a dominant 38-7 victory that likely dashed the Ducks' CFP aspirations. The Ducks' loss likely ensures that the Pac-12 will not have a representative in the CFP for the fifth straight season, with Washington's appearance at the close of the 2016 season being the last for the league.

Utah took a 28-0 lead into halftime by denying Oregon points on all three of its trips into Utes territory. It capped the half off in thrilling fashion with a 78-yard punt return from Britain Covey as time expired in the second quarter. An Oregon team that plays at a methodical pace scored on its opening series of the third quarter, but the Ducks couldn't sustain the momentum and suffered their second loss of the season -- with the previous defeat coming to Stanford.

Oregon finished with just 294 total yards, averaging only 2.7 yards per rush while converting on jus 6 of 14 third down attempts. Tavion Thomas ran for 94 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the Utah offense, while quarterback Cam Rising completed 10 of 18 passes for 178 yards. Rising improved to 7-1 this season as the starter since taking over following the team's 1-2 start. His favorite target was tight end Brant Kuithe, who caught five passes for 118 yards.

With the win, the highest ranked victory at home for the Utes, coach Kyle Whittingham is now the program's all-time wins leader with 142 victories. He surpasses Ike Armstrong, who led the program from 1925 to 1949.

Rematch coming?

If Oregon beats Oregon State in the regular-season finale for both teams next week, the Ducks will get a rematch with Utah in the Pac-12 title game on Dec. 3. A berth in the Pac-12 Championship Game would present a meaningful shot at retribution for Oregon, and it would come with a Rose Bowl bid on the line.

Even if Oregon loses next week, it could still end up in the mix for the Pac-12 Championship Game depending on how various tiebreaker scenarios play out. So while a national championship appears to be off the table, a championship of some sort remains in play for this team. It will be the Utah's third league title game in the last four seasons, but the Utes are still looking for their first victory in a conference championship game.

Cincinnati benefits

Cincinnati fans started a "let's go Utah" chant during the fourth quarter of the Bearcats' 48-14 win over SMU, and the Utes obliged them. With the Ducks likely to plummet in the CFP Rankings as a result of Utah's authoritative win, Cincinnati could be in position to claim the No. 4 spot in the new batch of rankings to be released on Tuesday.

Everyone else in the top six of the CFP Rankings looked good on Saturday, and the Ducks looked really bad. In that way, this result helped cut through the mid of the playoff picture. Oregon is out and Cincinnati got the help it so desperately needed.

Britain Covey's breakout

Utah's 5-foot-8 slot receiver from the Class of 2015 has long been one of the Pac-12's best returners, but he may have had his finest moment on Saturday. His 78-yard punt return for a touchdown on the final play of the first half turned Utah's lead from a comfortable one into an advantage that proved altogether insurmountable for Oregon's plodding offensive attack. Covey also caught three passes for 36 yards.

Covey was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 returner as a freshman in 2015 before taking two seasons off for a church mission. He returned even better and earned first-team all-conference honors as a returner in 2018 before redshirting in 2019 while playing in four games. Covey again earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors as a returner last season. 

Considering that 2020 did not count against his eligibility, Covey could technically play two more seasons. But he's already graduated, and he showed on Saturday that he might be ready to give the NFL a shot. There may be no better returner in college football.

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UTAH -3, o58.5
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UTAH -3, O/U 58.5

Season Leaders

passing
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A. Brown2989 YD, 18 TDS, 7 INTS
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A. Brown2989 YD, 18 TDS, 7 INTS
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C. Rising2493 YD, 20 TDS, 5 INTS
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C. Rising2493 YD, 20 TDS, 5 INTS
rushing
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T. Dye211 ATT, 1271 YD, 16 TDS
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T. Dye211 ATT, 1271 YD, 16 TDS
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T. Thomas204 ATT, 1108 YD, 21 TDS
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T. Thomas204 ATT, 1108 YD, 21 TDS
receiving
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D. Williams35 REC, 557 YD, 4 TDS
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D. Williams35 REC, 557 YD, 4 TDS
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B. Kuithe50 REC, 611 YD, 6 TDS
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B. Kuithe50 REC, 611 YD, 6 TDS
Live updates
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@Utah_Football via Twitter
November 21, 2021, 4:22 AM
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@Utah_Football via Twitter
November 21, 2021, 4:22 AM
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Complete performance

There is no mistaking who was the better team tonight. Perhaps it will be a different story if they rematch in the leauge title game, but on this day, the Utes dominating in every phase of the game. They will win it 38-7 and be in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Dec. 3. Hats off to the Utes. It's a program that has been through a lot.

November 21, 2021, 3:52 AM
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Nothing again

Breaking news: Oregon makes it into Utah territory but does not score. Brown tried to find Devon Williams, but Bishop Cole breaks it up, and Utah takes over on downs at its own 9. It would be downright comical if Oregon started burning timeouts here, since it has clearly demonstrated no intention to try and win the football game during this second half.

November 21, 2021, 3:46 AM
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@Utah_Football via Twitter
November 21, 2021, 3:46 AM
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What are we doing, Oregon?

Oregon is still letting the play clock run down to five seconds before it snaps the football -- while the clock is running -- on some occasions. If you're going to give up, put your backups in the game. Instead, the starters are out there risking injury when this team can still play for a conference title. It's reached the point in the season where getting reps shouldn't really be an issue. Just an uninspiring vibe.

November 21, 2021, 3:39 AM
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@Utah_Football via Twitter
November 21, 2021, 3:29 AM
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Nails in the coffin

The proverbial nails have entered Oregon's coffin as the Utes put together another methodical drive and goes ahead 38-7 with under 8 minutes left. Utah fumbled away a chance to score another TD but were fortunate that Kuithe fell on the ball. Jadon Redding hits from 26 yards out.

November 21, 2021, 3:27 AM
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Fate sealed

Oregon fails to convert on a fourth-and-15, which should just about do it. That was a FOURTH scoreless trip into Utah territory. The Ducks have been flirting with disaster all season, and it has finally hit tonight as they struggled to execute offensively and deal with a seemingly endless flood of self-inflicted miscues. Utes have it up 35-7 and will bleed the clock.

November 21, 2021, 3:18 AM
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Ducks playing too slow

Oregon will open the fourth quarter facing a third-and-10 at the Utah 30. The Ducks need to pick up the pace if they want any shot. You can't play slow and erase a four-touchdown deficit. There's gotta be another gear you can hit, but this team just doesn't seem to have it. You'd think it would be in this program's DNA, but it's not.

November 21, 2021, 3:12 AM
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@Utah_Football via Twitter
November 21, 2021, 3:05 AM
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Utah punches back

A pass interference penalty against Oregon's Devaughn Vele helps set up another Utah score. Thomas punches it in from five yards out for his third touchdown of the night. The Ducks have only been penalized four times for 35 yards, but it seems like they've all been costly. Utah managed to bleed another six minutes off the clock on that series. Impressive answer after Oregon's offense opened the half with a score.

November 21, 2021, 3:00 AM
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Injury update

ESPN just reported that Verone McKinley III is out for the rest of the game. The sophomore safety has been a key cog in Oregon's secondary this season. Losing him is a tough blow for the Ducks. The Utes are driving on their first possession of the third quarter.

November 21, 2021, 2:50 AM
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Oregon answers quickly

The Ducks convert a fourth-and-2 from the Utah 46, and the Brown finds Devon Williams for a 36-yard TD with 10:02 remaining in the quarter. Huge start to the half for Oregon. The Ducks will need more of that aerial prowess to get back in this game. Nine plays, 75 yards on that series. Time for Kayvon Thibodeaux or Noah Sewell to make a big defensive play.

November 21, 2021, 2:45 AM
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Ducks driving

Oregon finds itself in Utah territory for the fourth time in the game as it puts together a nice opening drive in the third quarter. Things have stalled for the Ducks at this point in their previous possessions. Can they finish a drive? They must if they're going to get back into this game. 

November 21, 2021, 2:41 AM
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