Utah Utes weekend in review

In Sunday’s NFL action, several former Utes stood out and made big plays to help their teams win.  The highlights:

                -Sione Pouha had five tackles in a Jets loss to the Patriots. 

                -Koa Misi had a tackle for loss and three total tackles as his Dolphins came up big in a win over the Redskins. 

                -Steve Smith had five catches for 33 yards on an off day.  Through nine games, Smith has 951 receiving yards.  He is on pace for about 1,690.  That would be one of the top seasons all-time for any player.  How many years have critics insisted that Smith is on the downward slide of his career? 

                -Paul Kruger recorded a sack.  It seems that Paul has finally found his niche and he is becoming a factor on that famous Baltimore defense.  Good for him.  He has worked his butt off to get where he is.

                -Alex Smith was solid again.  He went 19-30 for 242 yards and a touchdown with one pick.  The Niners are 8-1 and beating the Giants certainly brings more respect.  Amazingly enough, the second place team in their division is 3-6, meaning the Niners need to win two of their last six games to clinch the division title.  They are going to the playoffs folks.  Alex on the season has completed 64% of his passes, averaging about 200 yards/game and has thrown 11 TDs against only 3 INTs.  I am so happy for him after all these years that I don’t have the words to describe it.

                -Eric Weddle had nine tackles and a tackle for loss.  Eric is becoming the factor that we knew he would be.  He is on pace to be a pro-bowler this year, and he has earned it.  The Chargers are struggling though. 

-In bad news, you can more or less pin the inexcusable Baltimore loss to the Seahawks on David Reed.  He lost two fumbles and was only mediocre on Kickoff return.  

                If you didn’t see it, a couple weeks ago, I went around SBN and talked to fans of NFL teams about our Utes.  My findings were interesting, you can see that  here.


                Fun to watch the game on Saturday.  My game ball goes to Conroy Black.  As many pointed out in the game and recap threads, Conroy has really come alive of late.  Looking ahead, if RJ Stanford has managed to hang on an NFL roster for two years, I don’t see why Conroy can’t do the same thing, especially if he runs well at pro-day/combine. 

                With two games left, the Utes are in position to finish the year on fire.  Sure, Washington State’s QB threw for almost 500 yards, but given a week with game tape, I expect Whitt and Sitake to come up with a killer plan.  Looking forward to a great game on Saturday afternoon.

                 Here are the latest bowl projections from ESPN.

                Nice to see ESPN giving us some love.  Some zoob tweeted out a link on twitter that had the Utes going to the Kraft Bowl, but I just don’t see that happening if we win out. 

                Women’s Basketball:

                The Lady Utes came out strong in the second half and buried the pesky Thunderbirds from Southern Utah 74-60.  The T-birds actually held a lead at halftime, which surprised me.  Looking at the Box Score, it appears that starting guards Janita Badon and Iwalani Rodrigues did not play at all during the first half.  I find that to be odd, and I couldn’t find a reason in any of the articles.  At any rate, they played the entire second half and the Utes just beat up the T-birds.

                Forward Taryn Wicijowski led the way with 20 points and nine boards.  Michelle Plouffe had a double double with 10 points and 10 boards.

                This week, we will get to see just how good these ladies really are.  They will hit the road to take on Michigan on Thursday and then head to Arkansas to take on the Razorbacks on Saturday.  Best of luck and GO UTES!

                Men’s Basketball:

                I’ll have a preview up later when more info comes out, but the Men’s team will take on the Hawks from San Diego Christian College tonight at the Huntsman Center.

                This is pathetic to say, but this game is a must win.  The Hawks play in the NAIA’s Golden State Athletic Conference and finished last season 8-22.  Their tallest player is 6’10” and then they have a few 6’7” guys and then it drops off.  They lost to Westminster last season.

                The Utes need to come out and hammer them early and end this game fast.  This Hawks team is going to come out and play with absolutely nothing to lose.  Can you imagine being a small school and being able to tell your grandkids that you beat a Pac-12 school on their home floor? 

                If you read my stuff often, you know I am very optimistic about the Utes.  I always see the good.  Let me be completely clear when I say that if we lose this game tonight, we might not win a game all year.  And I mean that. 

                Best of the Rest: 

                After starting 0-3-1, the Utes soccer team rallied to finish 10-9-1.  They finished their first Pac-12 campaign at 6-5.  Finishing above .500 was a great accomplishment for Rich Manning’s team.  Expect great things in the future for these girls as they bring back a lot of talent next year.

                Volleyball has struggled adjusting to the competition of the Pac-12.  The team is 4-15 in conference play and has had a rough go of it.  The good news is that this team has only two seniors this year.  Look for the Utes to compete a lot more next year. 

                Finally, a poll question.  Answer honestly, it won’t hurt my feelings………

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