Holy cow, welcome back Joe Williams. What, 170 yards are not good enough for a welcome back game? How about 332 yards and 4 touchdowns! Utah’s offense was very, very good against UCLA, and they needed to be, since Utah’s tackling on defense wasn’t very good, and they allowed some easy catches.
In the game, Utah picked up 539 total yards with Williams’ 332 on the ground, on 29 carries (that’s 11.4 yards per carry), and Troy Williams threw for 12 of 24 for 179 yards with one pick and one rushing touchdown. This is Utah’s best offensive performance this season, by far, and they did it against a nice defense. Williams ran wild from distance too; three of his touchdown runs were from 43 yards, 64 yards and 55 yards. Talk about home runs from Joe today. This is Utah’s best rushing performance since joining the Pac-12 with 360 total yards.
Utah’s offensive staff installed a nice counter run that allowed the offensive line to get down field and seal off UCLA’s defensive line, which opened up some giant holes for Joe to run through.
As for defense, it was pretty shaky all night long. It started up front, as the defensive line had a hard time getting home on the UCLA back up QB, who threw for 464 yards and five touchdowns on 40 of 70, but Utah did pick him off four times (and missed a couple of others). UCLA completely abandoned the run game, which blew my mind because UCLA has traditionally been so good running the ball. UCLA ran the ball 16 times for 46 yards, and just wasn’t a threat.
Utah’s special teams were overall pretty good today, outside of one missed field goal and a fumbled (but recovered) punt return. It all started with Cory Butler-Byrd’s kickoff return for a touchdown to open the game. That was just a teaser of what was too come.
Utah is now 7-1 on the season and 4-1 in the Pac-12, tied with Colorado with the Pac-12 South lead. Next up are the Huskies of Washington, at Rice-Eccles Stadium, and the race is on from there.