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Utah vs Michigan 2008: The win that kicked off 13-0

Saturday will be the third match up between the Wolverines and the Utes, with both winning one of the earlier match ups.

The magical 2008 season kicked off at the Big House, where Utah returns Saturday to take on Michigan.
The magical 2008 season kicked off at the Big House, where Utah returns Saturday to take on Michigan.
Leon Halip

It all kicked off on a gorgeous fall day in Ann Arbor to start that 2008 season. Utah was returning a ton of players, and there was something about this team, even in the preseason and through fall camp something was different about this team. Going into the Big House was a perfect opportunity to make a statement and get things started the right way, and that's what the Utes did.

Utah was dominate in the first half against the Wolverines, by scoring on five of their first seven possessions, although three of those scores were field goals. Then in the second half the offense did what Andy Ludwig directed offenses tend to do - sputter and stall. A painful amount of punts and turnovers turned what should have been a route, into an uncomfortably close game. Utah didn't do themselves any favors by having 15 penalties for 137 yards.

Utah had no success on the ground against Michigan that day, although Matt Asiata had a great debut (the previous year against OSU doesn't count) with 13 carries for 77 yards - a 5.9 yards per carry average. As a team the Utes had 36 yards net rushing, after a ton of lost yards from quarterback Brian Johnson on the ground.

Johnson had a good day passing, however. He was his typically efficient 21-of-33 with one touchdown and one interception - although he was sacked a lot that day - six times. His best target through the air on that Saturday afternoon was the always reliable Bradon Godfrey, who had seven catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. Freddie Brown also had a nice day, of what was a great breakout season for him, with five catches for 59 yards.

Louie Sakoda was great place kicking on the day, as he always was, going 4-for-4 from 28, 43, 41 and 53 yards respectively.

Defensively, Utah was stout, and only allowed 203 total yards on the day. Paul Kruger, was a monster with 9 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and half a sack. Nai Fotu was also big that day, recording 7 tackles, with 2.5 for loss, and one sack. Utah did have to hold up at the end of the game as the lead vanished, but they were able to hold Michigan from getting that final score.

It was one of 13 magical days in that 2008 season, and the fact it all started against Michigan was sweet. For this 2014 squad, it will be a major confidence builder, and momentum boost into Pac-12 play, which kicks off for the Utes next week.

Utah Michigan
First Downs 16 11
Net Rushing Yards 36 36
Net Passing Yards 305 167
Total offensive yards 341 203
Third down conversions 5-of-19 3-of-14
Red Zone Chances 3/5 2/2
Penalties / Yards 15 for 137 8 for 53

Rushing No Gain Loss Net TD Long Ave
Asiata 13 77 0 77 0 19 5.9
Mack 8 20 3 17 0 5 2.1
Louks 1 8 9 8 1 8 8
Casteel 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Johnson 20 19 85 -66 0 8 -3.3
Totals 43 124 88 36 1 19 0.8

Receiving No Yards TD Long
Godfrey 7 84 1 19
Brown 5 59 0 17
Casteel 5 49 0 21
Reed 2 19 0 10
Brooks 1 55 0 55
Asiata 1 39 0 39
Totals 21 305 1 55

Passing Att-Comp-INT Yards TD Long Sack
Johnson 33-21-1 305 1 55 6
Team 1-0-0 0 0 0 0
Total 34-21-1 305 1 55 6

Check out all of the stats from that season opening win by clicking here.