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Utah football: RB John White could set record vs. Colorado

Published November 24, 2012 1:23 pm

Pac-12 • RB is close to making school history with back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Running back John White has a reputation for being one of Utah's hardest-working and most selfless players, which is why he insists he'll run hard against Colorado.

But a big performance by the little back would benefit not only the Utes (4-7, 2-6) but also his own legacy at Utah.

A little-known player when he joined the Utes, White's hard running already has earned him several categories in Utah's record book.

If he gets 127 yards against the Buffaloes (1-10, 1-7), who are giving up 110 yards a game, he'll be the first player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.

White, who rushed for a school-record 1,519 yards in 2011, is averaging 87.3 yards a game but rushed for more than 100 yards in the past four outings as the Utes have turned more and more to the run game.

"To achieve something like that would be a great honor," he said. "But I'd owe it to my teammates for getting me there."

The Utes owe White, too, since he has been a benchmark for success: They are 11-2 when he hits the 100-yard mark.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said he would like to see the Utes help White hit that magic number.

"He has meant so much to our program," Whittingham said. "We missed him when he was out and it took a while for him to get back to his old self, but now he is ripping 100-yard games just like he always has."

The Utes have had only a dozen players break the 1,000-yard mark. Among them are familiar names like Mike Anderson (1,173 in 1998) and Quinton Ganther (1,120 in 2005).

The only Utah player to reach 1,000 yards twice in his career was Eddie Johnson, who had 1,021 in 1984 and 1,046 in 1986.

"To get a 1,000 yards, that means a lot," White said. "It doesn't mean so much for me, but it means a lot to the team for grinding every day and putting in the work to block for me and those kinds of things."

Aside from helping White reach the achievement, the Utes have few tangible goals going into the game.

Normally Utah is playing for a league title or a better bowl position. This year has been unlike any other the Utes have experienced under Whittingham.

However, even as they come to terms with a losing record, the Utes say they have plenty to play for against the Buffaloes.

Last year, Colorado upset Utah 17-14 in Rice-Eccles Stadium, and the Utes would like to return the favor by winning on Colorado's field.

"Things haven't gone as we've expected and things like that," receiver Kenneth Scott said. "Things haven't gone the way they've expected either, but we know they are going to prepare their butts off for us and we are preparing to get our revenge. That is how we are looking at it."

If a new record comes with the revenge, then so be it, White said.

"We want to get a win and get the bad tastes out of our mouths," White said. "We didn't get both and beat Arizona to go for a bowl game, but we want to win." —

Utah at Colorado

P Kickoff • 1 p.m. MST

TV • FX

Radio • 700 AM

Records • Utah 4-7, 2-6; Colorado 1-10, 1-7

Series history • Colorado leads 31-24-3

Last meeting • Colorado, 17-14, Nov. 25, 2011

About the Utes • The Utes have yet to win on the road this year. ... Backup running back Kelvin York, who has missed the last three games, is expected to be available to play. ... Utah's biggest win in the series came in 1961, when the Utes beat No. 8 Colorado 21-12 in Boulder.

About the Buffs • They rank last in the Pac-12 in almost every major category. ... Nick Hirschman is expected to start for Colorado with Jordan Webb out with a hand injury. ... They are giving up 46.4 points a game. ... Marques Mosley is ranked fifth in the Pac-12, averaging 23 yards per kick return. ... Coach Jon Embree is 4-20 in two seasons.