Oregon has faced a variety of tight ends this season, but none are as productive as Dalton Kincaid.
Utah’s leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns, Kincaid has 50 catches for 649 yards — most among tight ends in the country — and seven scores entering Saturday’s game (7:30 p.m., ESPN) against the No. 12 Ducks.
“He catches contested plays,” Oregon coach Dan Lanning said. “Plays that are supposed to be 50-50 balls aren’t 50-50 balls with him. He has a big catch radius and obviously when they’re matched up, they’ll throw the ball to him even in traffic and he’ll still get it.”
Oregon (8-1, 6-2 Pac-12) has had varying degrees of success against tight ends this season.
In the season opener, Brock Bowers had two catches for 38 yards and Darnell Washington had two for 33 yards, one of his grabs being particularly memorable for his broken tackle and hurdle. BYU’s Isaac Rex broke free for a touchdown, Stanford’s Ben Yurosek had three catches for just 14 yards and UCLA, Cal, Colorado and Washington all utilized their tight ends with minimal success.
Kincaid is different in both his stature, at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, and how Utah utilizes him in its tight end heavy scheme.
Last season against Oregon, Kincaid had a four-yard catch during the game in Salt Lake City, when fellow tight end Brant Kuithe had 118 yards. Kuithe followed up with four catches for 61 yards and a touchdown in the Pac-12 Championship game.
It’ll be up to Oregon’s linebackers and nickel safeties Bennett Williams and Jamal Hill to contain Kincaid, who had 27 catches for 10 or more yards, nine for at least 20 yards and four for 30 or more yards, second most among tight ends nationally.
“He can catch in traffic tremendously,” Hill said. “His route running not just for a tight end but for a big athlete is really good. I’m looking forward to it; we are looking forward to it. … It’s a NFL guy. Like a lot of us, we want to aspire to go to the NFL. So what better to test your talent than against NFL talent.”