Giant slayers - it is becoming more evident every week that the rumors and whispers that this year's football team is "special" is starting to come to fruition. Last year, this Utah team came out on the wrong end of some very close games. This year, they are coming out on the right side of those same types of games. Saturday night was special, the crowd was loud, the atmosphere was electric and the team made the nation believe. Although, there was a moment, after fantastic moment in Utah's win, as usual, I did my best to pick out the best ones.
Travis Freaking Wilson
After being benched during the UCLA game 3 weeks ago, it was widely speculated that his will may be broken, and his confidence crushed. Even after coming into the game against Oregon State and helping the team to a win, it appeared that he was not himself. Against USC, however, the gunslinger returned. Wilson went 18-for-32 for 192 yards, as well as 27 yards rushing. The most impressive part of Travis' game was his composure in the final drive. He wasn't perfect by any stretch, but he was and is the QB that this team needs. Maybe the benching re-ignited him, who knows, but against the Trojans, Wilson reminded us of his will and determination to do whatever it takes to win for his team. Well done young man, well done.
Defense - The Whole Enchilada
After a 191 yard first quarter by the Trojans, the Utah defense showed up in the second quarter. Utah held USC to a mere 171 yards through the last 3 quarters. This is the same USC offense that racked up 503 yards the previous week against Colorado. I know it was Colorado, but USC is loaded with NFL talent and what Utah did to limit them was nothing short of spectacular. Utah's D was physical at the point of attack, and as the game wore on, they won the battle in the trenches and made things very difficult for USC QB Cody Kessler and company. It may not have been a game that was highlighted by sacks and tackle's-for-loss like the previous weeks, but the defense was fantastic on limiting the big plays that USC is accustomed to making.
Utah now moves into the meat of the schedule, a murderer's row of talented teams that will test Kyle Whittingham's Utes in all facets of the game. With Travis Wilson's renewed confidence and a dominant defense, the Utes have a chance to put themselves not only in a position to challenge for the south division, but also the league title.
See you in Tempe.