Utah football notes: Utes want whole pie, not just a piece
Now that the Utah Utes have clinched at least a part of the Mountain West Conference title, they don't plan on sharing the prize, especially with their biggest rivals.
Knowing the Utes still have to play BYU is one of the biggest reasons there was little celebration of earning a piece of the MWC championship with Saturday's 63-14 win over San Diego State, the players said.
"We don't want to share nothing, we're stingy over here," linebacker Stevenson Sylvester said. "We want the ring, and you want to know you are the only person who has that ring. We're going to make it happen."
The Utes won the conference outright in 2003 and 2004 and had to share the 1999 title with BYU and Colorado State.
BCS hopes aside, the Utes simply don't want to share anything with the Cougars, especially after BYU won the last two titles.
"I think fans know as much as the players do it doesn't mean anything until we come out with a victory against BYU," linebacker Mike Wright said. "We don't want BYU or TCU to have a piece of the conference championship, and hopefully we can have a heck of a celebration Saturday."
The speculation that started at the MWC media days that Utah and BYU could make it through their schedules undefeated was a game away from coming true, with the Cougars' only loss being to TCU.
Utah quarterback Brian Johnson called Saturday's game one of the best endings possible for a season.
"It's been a Hollywood script to this point," he said. "You couldn't have scripted it any better."
On the tube
Normally the TVs in Utah's lounge area in the Smith Center and elsewhere are tuned to ESPN. Wright anticipates different programming this week, based on his past experiences.
"We'll have old highlights and games going in our locker room and everything the entire time," he said. "This is a little different, the one game a year you really want to come out and win. It will be fun getting ready for them."
Defensive lineman Koa Misi, who didn't play in the second half Saturday because of a banged-up shoulder, will play against BYU. Backup running back Eddie Wide's night finished early because of a tight hamstring, but he is expected to play Saturday.
One of the few areas the Utes found to criticize Saturday was the defense, which gave up 247 passing yards. The Aztecs entered the game averaging 223.7 yards passing to rank third in the conference, but Utah's defenders found little consolation in those stats.
Utah has allowed only TCU (251), Oregon State (313) and Weber State (303) to earn more passing yards than the Aztecs.
The soft pass coverage overshadowed Utah's good defense against the run; San Diego State gained just 73 rushing yards.