Utah’s season can be defined by two halves. There was leading up to and including the Stanford upset, and then everything after that, which was mainly the injury to Travis Wilson and the subsequent downfall that comes with losing a starting quarterback.
The Utes were 4-2 and seemed poised to crack the postseason. But Wilson’s injury kicked off a five-game slide (he played sparingly in three of the first five before a possible career-ending brain condition was uncovered). There were highlights, but all in all, missing the postseason for another year has left a lot of Utah fans -- and its coach -- feeling frustrated. Offseason changes have already occurred, but questions about Wilson’s long-term health linger.
Offensive MVP: Though he missed the final three games and was injured for three more, the numbers still point to Wilson, because when he was at his best, the gettin' was good. The Utes averaged 37 points per game when Wilson was at full strength, but 21.3 in the games he was injured or missed. That is, by definition, the most valuable player.
Defensive MVP: No question it's DE/LB Trevor Reilly, who had a team-high 100 tackles to go with 16 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He also had an interception, defended three passes, forced a fumble and recovered another. He was well deserving of his spot on the first-team all-conference squad.
Best moment: Wilson takes a knee, flashes the “U” symbol to the MUSS and the students storm the field following a 27-21 win over Stanford. It was that signature Pac-12 win that everyone had been waiting for since the Utes joined the conference, and it was arguably the biggest regular-season win in school history. Diehards will argue the win over BYU was more important -- and they might be right, given that the Holy War goes on hiatus. I’d listen to that argument.
Worst moment: You could argue that pretty much every other game that followed, save Colorado, qualifies. But when you look back at the six interceptions against UCLA in a 34-27 loss, or the 51-48 overtime loss to Oregon State -- both at home -- it’s easy to see where one or two plays make all the difference between going bowling and staying home.