The Ann Arbor skies lamented as Utah dominated in the Big House Saturday afternoon. In a game where national experts were reluctant to predict because of the unknowns for both teams, Utah showed the nation that they are a team on the rise. Utah made play after play on the water logged turf in all three phases. Although it was hard to pick the best of the standouts, I did my best...
Offense - Travis Wilson
After a slow start, and a play that caused a collective feeling of nausea for Ute fans, Travis Wilson showed that he is a leader and a warrior on Saturday afternoon. While his numbers weren't spectacular compared to the first two weeks (14-of-20, 172 yds, one touchdown), he was good enough to make Utah the dominant team on the field. It was very clear after he returned in the second half, just how much he means to the success of this team.
Defense - The Entire Defense
Three interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and not allowing Michigan into the redzone one time - need I say more? This defense looked every bit of what Utah fans have become accustomed to in the Sitake/Whittingham era. Physical upfront, disciplined in the middle, and athletic at the corners and the back end. The defense was down right phenomenal, with batted balls, sacks, tackle's for loss – OH MY!
Special Teams - Kaelin Clay
In my "Keys to the Game" article, I mentioned that this would be the edge, and it proved to be just that. After a slow start by both teams, Kaelin Clay housed a punt return and started the ball rolling for the Utes. Clay now has two punt returns and a kick-off return in his pocket, the most of anyone in the country. So far this season, Clay has validated the Utah coaching staff's decision to sign a player that only has one year of eligibility. A decision that was questioned when it was made. Clay is a weapon that very few teams in the country have, and one that Utah is going to need.
Special Game Ball - Gionni Paul
Welcome to Utah Football young man! It was said that Paul would need some time to work back into game shape. While he did look a little gassed in the first half, he never played that way. In his first game as a Ute, Paul racked up 14 tackles (10 solo), 1 interception, and a fumble recovery. If he continues to play at this level, Utah may have just bolstered an injury plagued LB corps that desperately needs his kind of ability.
Who gets your game balls for the Michigan game?