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Five Things We Learned From Utah's Win Over Oregon

Author:
Britain Covey

Britain Covey

A seismic shift occurred in the Pac-12 landscape over the weekend and Utah created some of the biggest shock waves. The Utes demolished defending Pac-12 champion Oregon 62-20 at Autzen Stadium.

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Beating the Ducks gave Utah its first win in a Pac-12 opener since joining the conference in 2011 and the Utes made a huge statement in accomplishing that feat. The Utes handed Oregon its most lopsided loss since a 63-0 thrashing at Nebraska in 1985. Utah also scored the most points of any team to visit Autzen Stadium — eclipsing the 55 points scored by Washington State in 2003.

Here are five things we learned about Utah in what could be a season-defining victory for the Utes:

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1. Utah finally has a potent offense

Moving the chains consistently has been a struggle for the Utes in past seasons. That isn't the case in 2015. How dominant was Utah's offense against Oregon? The Utes scored on five straight drives to take a 27-13 halftime lead and then scored on their first four drives of the second half. Utah ripped off 42 unanswered points total and finished the game with 530 yards of total offense and 24 first downs.

2. Travis Wilson is finally realizing his potential

Wilson is doing what you would expect from a talented senior quarterback. He played brilliantly against Oregon, throwing for 227 yards on 18-of-30 passing – his 13th career game with 200 or more yards passing. Wilson matched his career high by throwing for four touchdowns. He also rushed for 100 yards and a TD on just six carries. Wilson is fearless and confident in directing the offense. If he can stay healthy, plenty of more strong performances like this are ahead for him in 2015.

3. Utah's defense could rule the Pac-12

Once again, Utah is showing that its hard-hitting and physical defense is going to make life miserable for other Pac-12 teams. The Utes forced Oregon to commit three turnovers and turned all three into touchdowns. Utah forced the Ducks to punt five times in seven first-half drives and limited Oregon to 18 rushing yards in the second half.

4. Freshman wide receivers are dangerous

Some of Utah's biggest playmakers on offense are true freshmen. Britain Covey tallied 55 yards and two touchdowns on just three receptions. Caleb Repp turned his first pair of career catches into touchdowns. Tyrone Smith is starting to emerge as a deep threat on the outside opposite senior receiver Kenneth Scott. These three freshmen accounted for 1/3 of Utah's receptions against Oregon.

5. Utah puts the "special" into special teams

No Pac-12 team gets more mileage out of its special teams than Utah. The Utes opened up the bag of tricks against Oregon and it resulted in some memorable plays. Tom Hackett ran for 33 yards on a fake punt when he was forced to kick again after hitting a skycam wire on his previous attempt. Covey fooled everyone in the stadium when he pretended to field a punt and teammate Boobie Hobbs raced 69 yards untouched for a touchdown. It's going to be fun to see what the Utes have cooked up on special teams each week.

Written by John Coon,who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports and many others. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.