It’s all in the guarantee

By By Cody Brunner

By Cody Brunner

If Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn learned anything from this week, it was probably not to guarantee a victory. Especially when playing against a red-hot Utah team that had won five games straight and was fresh off a bye week.

Glenn’s guarantee, as well as the Cowboys, proved null on Saturday and the Utes walked off the field at Rice-Eccles Stadium with a convincing victory, 50-0.

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham used Glenn’s guarantee as motivation throughout the course of the week. Needless to say, the technique worked and the Utes tallied their sixth consecutive win.

“It’s like them spitting in your face,” said defensive tackle Gabe Long. “To come into our house and guarantee a win?wow. They should have showed some respect. We’re doing well and you just don’t say that.”

While their counterparts on offense tacked up an impressive 50 points, the Utah defense set the tone with suffocating play. The Utes held the Cowboys to 122 total yards on the day and forced five turnovers (three fumbles, two interceptions).

Long was a force to be reckoned with in the middle, compiling five tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble to key the Utah defensive effort.

When Wyoming quarterbacks weren’t getting sacked by Long and his teammates, they were likely throwing an interception. Cornerback Justin Jones and safety Steve Tate both recorded picks in the game.

“It’s always tough after a bye week because you never know what’s going to happen,” Tate said. “You never want to come out of that bye week rusty, so our main goal was to come out and play together as a team.”

Utah’s offense took advantage of the great field position presented to them. Running back Darrell Mack fell just short of his sixth consecutive 100-yard game, rushing for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman wide receiver Jereme Brooks ran the ball two times for 44 yards and two touchdowns. And quarterback Brian Johnson completed 17 of his 29 passes for 167 yards and one touchdown.

After the game, Johnson said Glenn’s comments served as sufficient motivation for the Utes.

“Some of the guys took that to heart,” Johnson said. “We had a lot of players stepping up and making plays. When you guarantee a win, you better believe you’re going to have to bring your “A” game.”

Utah placekicker “Sweet” Louie Sakoda hit all three of his field goal attempts (26, 32, 41) and averaged 49.8 yards per punt on five attempts.

The Utes did the bulk of their work in the second quarter, scoring 30 points and limiting the Cowboys to just 18 total yards. Utah carried a 40-0 lead into halftime.

The second half saw a bevy of trick plays and fourth down conversion tries from the Utes. Early in the third quarter, Utah’s Ben Vroman attempted an onside kick that fell inches short of the required 10 yards. Later in the quarter, the Utes nearly converted a reverse flea-flicker pass to running back Darrell Mack.

Despite the trickery and aggressive play calling, Whittingham insists that the Utes did not hold a grudge against Glenn and the Cowboys.

“It was not a statement,” Whittingham said. “We just played well until we felt the game was in hand in the fourth quarter and we put it away by running the ball. It wasn’t a statement, we were just looking for the win.”

The win gives the Utes their fourth conference victory of the season and keeps their dim Mountain West Conference championship hopes alive. Utah returns to action next Saturday when they host New Mexico at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

For the Lobos’ sake, head coach Rocky Long might not want to make the same mistake as Glenn.

“We don’t ask that you have to love us or that you have to hate us, but give us a little respect,” Johnson said. “That’s how we feel. We fully respect Wyoming and we fully respect what they are capable of, but when you come in and say that you’re going to beat us in our own place, I think some people took that as disrespectful.”

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