Winning is the lone consistent for Utes

For the second time in his career, Utah quarterback Travis Wilson rode a wave of MUSS members while celebrating a victory.

Wilson can now add his name to the list of 2014 Utah heroes and that list is getting long.

First, it was Andy Phillips and Kendal Thompson against UCLA in the Rose Bowl. A game later, Devontae Booker finished things off for Utah against Oregon State. Now, after Wilson jaunted down the sideline and threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Kaelin Clay for the game-winning score in Utah’s 24-21 win over USC, the Utah gun-slinger has joined the heroic ranks.

It wasn’t just the last drive that Wilson left his mark. With the junior back under center the Utes left-for-dead passing game was resurrected. Wilson was 18-for-32 for 194 yards and a touchdown.

The numbers aren’t the eye-popping totals seen around the rest of the league, but with a defense that has shown it can shut down the most potent of passers and a bruising running back in Booker, Wilson was more than adequate.

For the first time in what feels like weeks, the Utes offense moved down the field and made plays – consistently.

“We weren’t spectacular on offense, but we were consistent,” head coach Kyle Whittingham said. “We threw the ball a lot better… A lot of good things in the game, but the best thing is that we are 6-1.”

Whittingham speaks often of consistency and he heaped praise on Wilson after Saturday’s contest for finally bringing it to the offense. The offense found it against USC, but the team has had consistency for nearly a month in one way – they have consistently been able to win.

Since Utah’s 28-27 lone loss of the season to Washington State, the Utes have reeled off three straight conference wins all in similar fashion. Sometimes the offense can’t move the ball, sometimes the defense gives up big passing plays and sometimes -though very rarely – the special teams unit stumbles. But in the end, the Utes have found a hero that has won them the game.

It was the Wilson and the offense’s turn on Saturday and it came at the best of times.

The Utes have been carried this season by a strong defense, a great special teams unit and a workhorse running back. That was not the case against the Trojans.

The Utah defense couldn’t get the USC quarterback Cody Kessler in the first half and he dissected the Utes secondary for big chunks of yards. The special teams gave up a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown after a unit member stumbled and fell on the coverage. And Booker fumbled at the one-yard line trying to punch it in for a score.

What had been consistent for the Utes the entire season became inconsistent Saturday night. But again Utah found a way and found another hero.

With Utah down 21-17 on the USC 19 yard-line and the seconds ticking away, Wilson ran to the sideline, but he never went out. The Utah quarterback tight roped the sideline before diving head first for the end zone. He was deemed out at the half-yard line, but Wilson and the Utes would not be denied the game-winning score and two plays later, Wilson hit Clay for the game winner.

“The way we played and the way we had the heart to finish off the game strong, shows a lot for this team and what we want to accomplish,” Wilson said.

Be it the heart, the will to win, or something else, the Utes have had players make the plays to come out on top – consistently.

“Words can’t really describe how I’m feeling right now,” Wilson said. “I know that bowl eligibility isn’t enough for this team. This team wants to go a long ways.”