Here are three thoughts on the Utah Utes 49-27 win over the Cal Bears:
1. Good to see the run game return. When you can run the football you win games. It’s as simple as that. Kelvin York ran hard before he got injured. Clearly John White was motivated by essentially being called out this week when Kyle Whittingham said he would have to share carries with York. Running the ball allowed freshman quarterback Travis Wilson to have success throwing the ball with the playaction game. Running the ball also allowed Utah to dominate the time of possession and keep the defense fresh. Running the ball enabled Brian Johnson to open up the playbook and even call a successful quarterback run at the goal line because of the ability of Wilson to fake the handoff to a back. I also commend Johnson for calling a run play for York straight up the middle for a rushing touchdown. Overall a breakout game for the offense all once again because of the run game.
2. The defense made big plays. Whittingham has been lamenting about the defense’s inability to force interceptions. So what did they do? Ryan Lacy got one. In addition Reggie Topps scooped up a fumble for a touchdown. The Utes successfully pressured Cal quarterback Zach Maynard registering three sacks in the first half alone and four on the game. Brian Blechen seemed to return to form making some big hits and pass breakups. The only downfall was giving up some late touchdowns when the game was essentially over and getting gouged at times by the Cal rush game but otherwise it was a solid effort.
3. Dunn and the special teams getting it done. Reggie Dunn set the tone of the game with his first 100 yard kick return. It quickly turned the momentum to Utah and got the crowd into the game early. The second was just as electrifying. I’m not much of a fan of kickers and punters but give Tom Hackett credit for placing two punts inside the five yard line in the first half. Even Coleman Peterson made all his extra points. All the Utes needed was a field goal and it would have been a perfect night for the special teams.
Clearly Cal is not a good team as the clock is ticking on Jeff Tedford’s job but the Utes desperately needed a win and they got it done. Now lets see if this can rally them to make a run at a bowl game.