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Utah football: Utes can build momentum vs. WSU

Published October 29, 2012 12:08 am

College football • After knocking off Cal, Utah gets struggling Cougars.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

The good news for the Utah Utes is they finally found some offense in their 49-27 win over the Cal Bears on Saturday.

The bad news is a key part of that offense was hurt in the win.

Then there's potentially more good news: that the Utes (3-5, 1-4) next face Washington State.

While there are no guaranteed victories, Saturday's game against the Cougars (2-6, 0-5) is as good of an opportunity as the Utes could ask for to continue their winning ways.

Unlike other teams with new coaching staffs in the Pac-12 this year, the Cougars have struggled to break out of their losing pattern.

The Cougars haven't won a Pac-12 game and are averaging just 20.6 points despite the presence of offensive guru Mike Leach on the sidelines.

On Saturday, the Cougars gave Stanford a scare, losing 24-17, but WSU gave up 10 sacks and an interception late in the game that ended their hopes of an upset.

As for the Utes, they are feeling much better about themselves after giving their most complete effort of the year by beating Cal 49-27 Saturday.

Among the superlatives:

• The Utes scored on offense, defense and special teams to put up the most points since beating BYU 54-10 in 2011.

• Senior Reggie Dunn became the 16th player in NCAA history to score two touchdowns on kick returns in a game as he ripped off two 100-yard returns.

• The Utes finally found a run game and scored four rushing touchdowns, equaling their season's previous total in one night.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said the Utes didn't do anything drastically different from past outings, everything simply came together for them, he said.

"It was good to see the players who have worked so hard Monday through Friday see some fruits for their labors," Whittingham said.

The only disappointment in the night was a high ankle sprain suffered by backup running back Kelvin York.

York rushed 11 times for 51 yards and a touchdown before he left the game in the third quarter.

His bruising style of play complemented White's quick game just as the Utes had hoped it would, but now it's unknown how long he'll be out.

White finished with 22 carries and 105 yards and two touchdowns and moved into 10th place all-time on Utah's career list with 2,037 rushing yards.

"I was just driving my legs and making sure I got the extra yard," White said.

The one notable change the Utes made was putting offensive coordinator Brian Johnson on the field so he could work more closely with quarterback Travis Wilson. Passing game coordinator Aaron Roderick took Johnson's place in the booth and will remain there, but Johnson will still call the plays, Whittingham said.

Whittingham said he liked the switch because Johnson brings fire to the sidelines while Roderick is very good at reading coverages.

"As far as input, Brian calls the game and Aaron and the other offensive coaches are constantly talking to each other particularly when the offense is on the sidelines," Whittingham said.

Now that they've finally gotten a Pac-12 win, the Utes say they are determined to keep their season moving in the right direction.

They are confident they can do that, believing they've finally gotten through the worst of their woes.

"We finally put it altogether," corner Ryan Lacy said. —

Washington State at Utah

P Saturday, 1 p.m.

TV • Pac-12 Network