Football: Marcus Williams Forces Two Turnovers in First Half Against SUU

By Emilee White

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Senior linebacker Marcus Williams led the defense Thursday night in the Utes’ season opener against Southern Utah University. By the end of the first half, Williams had forced two turnovers, one fumble and one interception.

“[Marcus] stripped the first one and then recovered it, and then punched it out,” said heach coach Kyle Whittingham. “That was textbook how you teach it, and then he recovered it. He is a terrific center field. He has got a lot of range, and he is going to make a lot of plays like that this year.”

Andy Phillips got the Utes on the scoreboard on the first drive of the game when he hit a 26-yard field goal, and SUU then took over on offense.

Williams forced a fumble by SUU’s sophomore wide receiver Ty Rutledge, and he recovered the ball. The first turnover of the game sparked something in the Utes, but they fell short when Phillips missed his second field goal attempt.

“I just saw the opportunity,” Williams said. “I was chasing down the running back and I just popped it out from the back like we do it in practice. We do strip drills and that’s what I did tonight.”

When Southern Utah had possession of the ball in the second quarter at 8:41, Marcus Williams intercepted a pass and forcing another turnover, the second for Utah.

“I just saw the ball in the air and I was just going to catch it,” Williams said. “I wasn’t worried about what everybody else was doing. At that moment, when the ball was in the air, I was trying to go get it and I just turned into a receiver in that play.

As the Utes started their drive following the second turnover, junior running back Troy McCormick rushed for four yards into the end zone, making the score 10-0.

“It was really important to come out and dominate today,” Williams said. “I don’t feel like we were up to our potential today, but next week we are going to change something, tackle better, and we are going to come out blazing.”

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