Bruce and Bruce
Episode 43 – A big win for Utah, yet another loss for RSL
Listen Here! To begin, I would like to present a quote from this very blog as posted last week. It was the latest version of my developing opinion about the University of Utah football team: If they lose big this Friday at Louisville (as, unfortunately, I am expecting) then the “mediocre” definition will probably stick. If Utah manages to keep the score close and look good (or, in another shock, win), then we may have to back to the drawing board. So, I was shocked (as predicted) when Utah not only beat Louisville 44-35 at Papa John’s Stadium, but looked pretty good in the process. They dominated the first half and scored enough in the second half to hold off the best quarterback in the NCAA. A big loss would have answered more questions than the highlight win, so I find myself again at the proverbial drawing board. In one way, this game was even more impressive than the UCLA tilt because everyone watching that knew it was a world-class fluke. Not so much that Utah won, but that they dominated every aspect of the game. They took a top-ranked team and made them look like the biggest cupcake they would play all year. It didn’t help that UCLA gave up halfway through the third quarter, but the damage was done by that point. The Louisville game was much different. Again, Utah dominated the first half, but Louisville brought it back to as close as six points in the fourth quarter. It was a fight to the end, in other words, before Reliable Louie Sakoda booted a 46 yard clinching field goal with about 90 seconds left. The running game for Utah was spectacular, behind Darrell Mack’s 163 yard, 3 touchdown performance. Brian Johnson threw for 312 yards and added two more touchdowns (one passing, one rushing), with no interceptions. Utah’s line played great on the defensive end, controlling the line of scrimmage and holding Louisville to just 26 total rushing yards. Unfortunately, that opened the field to the Cardinals’ Brian Brohm (the afore-mentioned “best quarterback in the NCAA”), who lit up Utah’s secondary for 467 yards and four touchdowns. He was sacked three times in the game, which doubled his total sacks on the season, but some of that had to do with his two best receivers being out for the game. As a fan, I would be curious to see how different the game would have been with those star receivers playing. Then again, if Utah had Brent Casteel and Matt Asiata, it would have made a difference, as well. It was a great, exciting win, and Utah looked good in the process. However, it also reinforced the inconsistency theory, and created more questions about the team. Utah has now won three of their last four, including two in a row (their first winning streak of the season). Two of those wins came against teams that had been ranked in the top 15 at one point in the season. The one loss was an embarrassing shut-out to one of the worst teams in the conference (UNLV’s only other win, ironically, was Utah State). So, was the Louisville game the beginning of a long winning trend? Was it a sign that the UNLV game, like the UCLA game, was something of a fluke? Is the real Utah team now emerging, ready to challenge for a bowl game (and with a lot of luck, the conference title)? Or is this yet another tantalizing hint of what could be? A peek at how talented and explosive the offense really is, when they have consistent playcalling? Is another bumbling loss just around the corner? I would like to say that I have stopped guessing and analyzing, and that I will just take each game as it comes. That would be completely untrue, but I do wish I could say it. Utah plays San Diego State at home and TCU in Dallas for their next two games. One of those games should be relatively easy and the other a tough contest, although the way this season is going I’m not so sure which is which. Time will tell… I hope. There is much more in the podcast, as always. Well, maybe not much more, but it’s more entertaining, anyway. Our Top 3 in Utah for this week: 3. Brian Johnson 2. Tim Toone 1. Darrell Mack We would love to hear from you! Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.