A week after becoming Utah’s career rushing leader, Zack Moss added another school record in the first quarter of Saturday night’s game vs. California at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Moss’ 4-yard run gave him a 32nd career rushing touchdown, breaking the mark of Del “Popcorn” Rodgers in 1978-81.
The score came after Moss turned a short pass from Tyler Huntley into a 69-yard gain to the Cal 6. Huntley improvised after a low shotgun snap, rolling to his right and finding Moss alone in the middle of the field.
Moss had topped Eddie Johnson’s yardage mark (3,219) last week on a 32-yard touchdown vs. Arizona State. He added a 10-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and finished with 115 yards on 17 carries. HIs 15th career 100-yard game topped the Utah career record shared by junior college transfers John White and Devontae Booker.
Huntley makes eighth straight start
For the second time this season, there was some mystery about Huntley’s health going into the game. Once again, Huntley started.
Huntley’s display of toughness last week vs. Arizona State hardly surprised Moss, his Florida high school teammate. After Huntley injured his leg in the second quarter, Moss said, “Once I saw him stand up, I told myself, ‘Yeah, he’s coming back.’ So I’m sure he’s going to do everything he can to get back and ready for this game, because it’s his last season.”
Huntley returned after missing six plays vs. ASU as the Utes finished a touchdown drive, but he sat out the fourth quarter.
Addition by substitution
Utah’s defensive coaching staff has discovered a way to slow down opposing offenses and keep the clock moving when the Utes are leading.
By rule, if the offense substitutes, the defense is allowed to match personnel before the ball can be snapped. Utah’s strategy is to rotate defensive linemen, usually Leki Fotu and Hauati Pututau. The tactic worked well against Washington State, as the Cougars used more time than they would have liked, trailing 31-13 in the fourth quarter. Arizona State was called for delay of game last weekend.
“You just have to get on the field in a non-lethargic manner, and then get off,” coach Kyle Whittingham said. “It’s not the defense’s [responsibility]; the onus is on the offense to get the ball snapped in 40 seconds. So if they make a late sub, we’re going to sub with ’em. … It’s not a dirty tactic; it’s just that we’re not going to sprint for no reason.”
And a 335-pound man can run only so fast.
Mac’s 80th birthday celebrated
Dozens of former Utah coach Ron McBride’s players attended an 80th birthday party Friday, tied into his foundation’s Legacy Gala.
Former NFL star Steve Smith Sr. was among the speakers and the attendees included Mike McCoy, the quarterback of Utah’s 10-2 team in 1994.
Whittingham sent a video message from the team and coaching staff, describing McBride as “the Godfather of Utah football,” responsible for “getting this whole train rolling.”