Wide, Shakerin blow past UNM with career rushes

By By Liz Frome , Staff Writer

By Liz Frome , Staff Writer

With a half-empty stadium surrounding them, Utah’s running backs finished their night having done their jobs well.

Proving to be quite a dynamic duo, Eddie Wide and Sausan Shakerin delivered a nasty one-two blow to New Mexico’s defense Saturday, each accumulating more than 100 yards and two touchdowns on the night.

Wide, a junior playing in his third year with the Utes, set Utah’s record for consecutive 100-yard rushing games at six, breaking the school’s previous record of five. Darrell Mack was the last Ute to hit the five-game mark, in 2007.

“It’s exciting (to rush for 100 yards),” Wide said. “It’s a pretty big deal, but right now I’m focused on the season. When we’re done with the season, I’ll look back on it.”

Wide started the game against the Lobos with little success against the defensive line, closing out the first quarter with just 2 yards on three carries, averaging less than a yard per touch. The performance was uncharacteristic at best of Wide, but one step at a time, he dug himself out of the hole and started running through them.

In the second quarter, Wide managed to bump his average per carry from 0.7 to 2.3, totaling 23 net yards for Utah’s offense by the end of the half. The biggest of those yards came on a 1-yard touchdown run with 6 minutes left in the second quarter.

The improvement helped the Utes end the half up 17-7 on the Lobos, but the third quarter was when Wide really found his stride.

“We started out slow as a team, but in the second half we stepped up and executed more efficiently,” Wide said. “Our offensive line did a great job of opening up holes tonight.”

With 77 more yards to hit the 100 mark, Wide came out running. Reminders of his unproductive start were nowhere to be seen as he tallied up 122 more yards in the third quarter to go along with his second touchdown.

“Eddie running the way he has has been the most important facet of our last six football games,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham.

Wide blew past 100 yards Saturday night, setting his career high at 145 on 20 touches and ending the game with an average of 7.2 yards per rush in three quarters of play.

The coaching staff called it a night for Wide after the third quarter, when the Utes had accumulated a 31-point lead, leaving the rest of the touches for Shakerin, Utah’s freshman running back.

Off to a similarly spotty start, Shakerin had only 5 yards at the end of the first and 16 heading into halftime, averaging 4 yards per carry.

The start of the third quarter seemed to be a spark in the shoes of Shakerin, as the crowd watched him increase his rushing yardage to 41 and score his first career touchdown off a 20-yard pass from freshman quarterback Jordan Wynn.

The crowd, though quickly dwindling thanks to Utah’s commanding lead, grew more attached to Shakerin in the fourth quarter, when he was left to do the job of running the ball by himself.

Ute fans weren’t disappointed, as Shakerin scored his second career touchdown on an 8-yard run with 10 minutes left in the game and ended the night with 100 rushing yards on 16 carries, averaging 6.2 yards per touch. His previous game high was 10 yards on three carries.

Whittingham said he was pleased with the way Shakerin handled the responsibility of backing up Wide and said the expectations will be high for both come Saturday when the Utes head to TCU.

Utah’s 45-14 win over New Mexico marked the first time in more than a year that two Utes have rushed for over 100 yards each. Matt Asiata and Mack were the last duo to do so, hitting their mark against Air Force on Sept. 20, 2008.

“Everybody did a great job blocking, so it all paid off in the end,” Wide said.

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Thien Sok/The Daily Utah Chronicle

Zane Taylor celebrates with Eddie Wide after Wide?s 35-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Wide had more than 100 yards rushing for the sixth game, giving him the school record.