Utah football: Poole's legs, hands key to win (with video)
Utah lined up for a play with Bubba Poole in the backfield, and he started streaking toward the right sideline as Travis Wilson called for the ball.
Wilson quickly fired a strike to Poole, who caught the swing pass and bolted upfield for a 7-yard gain.
It was that kind of night for the Utes offense.
Utah relied heavily on the swing pass in its upset of No. 5 Stanford at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday.
"We were trying to get space against those guys," Utah co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson said about the Stanford defense. "They're too hard to play in a phone booth."
Poole exploited the Cardinal defense on the swing pass before attacking on the ground. He finished with a team-high seven catches to go with 22 carries for 111 yards.
"We felt we had to motion guys and move guys out of the backfield and throw that stuff out there to them and try to get some plays in space," Erickson said. "And then once we started doing that, then we were able to run it."
Utes running backs Karl Williams and Poole combined for 12 catches, 95 yards and a score. Wilson said it was no accident the swing passes looked so crisp.
"We've been working on that since spring ball, and it's something we work on every practice," Wilson said.
Wilson managed to hit his receivers in stride on the swing passes, which allowed Poole and Williams to read their blockers and make a move to gain more yardage.
"To get out there on the perimeter is something I like to do," Poole said. "If I can make an impact catching, that's something I want to do."
Poole and Williams caught three passes apiece in the first quarter, which helped loosen the defense. Poole then did his damage on the ground in the second and third quarters, when he rushed for 86 of his yards.
"The O-line did a great job against a physical front," he said. "And with the receivers and getting the ball out in space actually opened it up for us with the run game."
It was Poole's second 100-yard rushing performance of his career, and his 75 yards receiving were a career high.
"Bubba Poole is a tough kid," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.
Stanford coach Davis Shaw preferred to credit the Utes' offensive line when asked about Poole's success moving the ball.
"Utah is really big up front and creates issues for us on the defensive side," Shaw said. "We made adjustments that slowed them up the second half, but they did a good job. We missed tackled and didn't play well enough."
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