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Eugene, Ore. • Utah would need a heavy dose of Devontae Booker to beat the Ducks in Eugene, they said.
They'd need turnovers. Tricks. Flukes. Fortuitous bounces.
The Utes got all of that Saturday night, but whether they really needed any of it is another matter, as No. 18 Utah routed No. 13 Oregon, 62-20.
"When that kind of preparation meets toughness and physicality, that was the result," Kyle Whittingham said. "That's a good football team we beat tonight."
But against his Utes, these Ducks looked … odd.
Utah dominated the game in every facet, and what by all rights should have been its toughest conference opener yet became Utah's first victory in a Pac-12 opener.
Senior quarterback Travis Wilson shook off the shoulder sprain that kept him out of action in Fresno, passing for 227 yards, four touchdowns and running for 100 yards and another score.
Senior running back Devontae Booker had 22 carries for 98 yards and a passing touchdown yeah, a passing touchdown to true freshman Britain Covey.
Covey finished with two scores and possible Emmy consideration for pretending to field a high, deep punt while Boobie Hobbs returned the actual kick 69 yards, untouched.
Kenneth Scott had a breakout game with 75 yards and a score.
Marcus Williams snatched his third pick.
Tom Hackett rushed 33 yards.
And so on.
Early in the third quarter, with Utah leading by four scores, the fans flocked to the exits. If beating Oregon qualifies as a "statement," this might be more accurately described as an "exclamation."
"It's surreal," Covey said. "And the win is surreal, but even before the game, I stepped out on that field and I just took a moment to take it all in, and I realized that I'm living one of my childhood dreams."
Back then, before the game, the chatter centered on the lack of clarity at quarterback, with both teams playing coy about their expected starter.
Vernon Adams started and gave way to Jeff Lockie, who drew chants of "Lock-ie, Lock-ie" after he spurred the Ducks on a decidedly Duck-like first series, going 68 yards in a little over two minutes.
But it was a master class from the other two-syllable quarterback.
Using a staple of the Oregon offense, Wilson raced after one read-option keeper for 33 yards and after another for 60 yards.
After hitting Scott for short gains on comebackers, Wilson caught Oregon's defense sitting in the flats and lofted a 26-yard pass to Covey while Scott signaled touchdown to flustered Duck defenders.
He found Scott at the back of the end zone.
He hit true freshman Caleb Repp on a back-corner fade.
He kept it for a short score.
He hit Repp for another touchdown reception (still the only kind of reception Repp has ever made.)
All told, Utah scored on 10 of its first 13 drives and totaled 530 yards.
"It felt amazing," Wilson said. "It's a great win for this program, a great step for this offense, to put that many points on a team like Oregon is unheard of, so I'm really happy with our team's performance."
Meanwhile, Lockie's success was short-lived. One ill-advised pass was picked off by Williams and returned 52 yards to the Oregon 25, setting up a halfback pass from Booker to a wide-open "wide-open" was a theme Covey.
Later, Oregon drove 53 yards only for Lockie to find Utah corner Dominique Hatfield in the corner of the end zone, Hatfield's first pick since his return to the team this month.
And Kyle Whittingham continued to pull out all the stops even with a huge lead.
After a lengthy delay when Hackett's punt hit a cable holding the overhead camera, Hackett caught a high snap and rushed 33 yards to the Oregon 39 with Utah leading 41-13.
That was due to his respect for the Oregon offense, he said. "They can score in bunches, in a hurry," he said. "The game is never out of reach for Oregon."
A week after his own 77-yard punt return romp, Covey's trickery led to Hobbs' easy score, and outside of allowing Oregon's Byron Marshall to return a kick 77 yards to set up a 13-yard screen pass touchdown to Royce Freeman, special teams were again a strength for the Utes.
Hobbs' return was the first against Oregon in 100 games.
Phillips hit field goals of 28 and a 44-yarder from the right hash for Utah's first two scores and a 6-0 advantage late in the first.
And Hackett also gave Utah a huge field-position edge in the first quarter, when his career-long 76-yard punt rolled to the Oregon 8.
"It's a great road win for our team, and the way they controlled the game from start to finish really speaks well for the way they were able to prepare, and the type of personnel we've been able to assemble," Whittingham said.
Utah's players will take the week off practice during the bye before facing Cal on Oct. 10.
R Travis Wilson throws four touchdown passes, and rushes for 100 yards and a score, to lead the 18th-ranked Utes to an emphatic win over the 13th-ranked Ducks in both teams' Pac-12 opener Saturday.
• The Utes rack up 530 yards of offense and score 28 points during the third quarter.