It's been 24 hours now and I've digested one of the biggest victories in Utah football history. I really don't know what to say, except that I did not see this one coming. A win? I held out hope, but a 38-point victory? Never in my wildest imagination would I have envisioned such a dominant scenario. I can't remember the last time Utah was such a big underdog and won by such a wide margin. So where do I start?
Utah's offense looked so much better than it did in week one and two. Tommy Grady actually looked like a D1-A quarterback and the Utes finally found a running game. There were times where the Bruins defense looked completely befuddled, especially when freshman Corbin Louks connected with Dallin Rogers on a short 12-yard touchdown pass. It was also nice seeing the Utah Pass return to the Utes' offense, something I haven't seen since the 2005 season.
But as much as the offense looked good, the defense looked even better. I said it in my preview and it rang true Saturday afternoon. Utah's defense needed the offense to perform well, or it would have spent the entire time on the field gassed and the Bruins would have rolled. Well, Utah's offense worked UCLA and their defense stepped it up and shut down UCLA's running game, forcing Ben Olson into the air, which -- as predicted -- resulted in pure havoc for the Bruins. Olson looked liked a frightened boy amongst a cluster of men. In fact, I think this photo sums up Olson's night perfectly.
Please don't make me your bitch, Utah!
Olson joins a long list of quarterbacks that the Utes have plowed with Kyle Whittingham's stingy defense. Olson was on his back more than Paris Hilton and I'm sure enjoyed it far less than she ever could. Just an unbelievable performance by our defense, especially holding running back Kahlil Bell to only 59 yards after he rolled to 195 and 75 yards against Stanford and BYU respectively. And boy, what a coming out party for Robert Johnson. Two interceptions and a forced fumble which ultimately did UCLA in. Can it get any better than that? I think not!
As for coaching, Whittingham and crew had the perfect gameplan Saturday. They must have spent the entire week watching the BYU-UCLA game over and over again, dissecting every little mistake made by the Bruins, because they surely exploited that this weekend. The Utes worked UCLA's secondary and bulldozed through their line (122 yards rushing), while putting the pressure on Olson. They never relented, even with the game essentially over and that's what I love to see. It was just a perfect all around game and hats off to Darrell Mack, who became Utah's first 100 yard rusher in a game since Quinton Ganther in the 2005 Emerald Bowl. I think we have a running back, folks! A huge game for Mack, Grady, the receivers and Utah's defense. Hell, even Utah's special teams looked good and that's saying a lot, since they've struggled so far this season. What a great win for this program, Coach Whittingham and our players. They deserved it and I'm really happy for them and hopefully it's one they can build on. But can they? Well, we'll discuss that at another time.
Sorry I just cost you your job!
U-T-A-H! Fight! Fight! Fight!