SALT LAKE CITY - The weather was cooler in Salt Lake City this week, but the practices continued to heat up as the Utes prepare for its first opponent from the South Division in the Pac-12.
The Utes take on Arizona on Friday, Oct. 12 with an 8 p.m. MT kick in Rice-Eccles Stadium. Utah has played three opponents from the North to open Pac-12 play, including Utah's 40-21 win over No. 14 Stanford last week.
In celebration of the fifth-annual Ute Proud game, members of the Ute tribe will be recognized and the Pow Wow committee will perform a cultural demonstration at halftime. Fans are encouraged to purchase
and wear Ute Proud t-shirts to the game with proceeds benefiting Ute Tribe scholarships and youth programs. Utah is 2-2 in Ute Proud games with wins against Arizona State (2015) and San Jose State (2017) and losses to Arizona (2014) and Washington (2016).
Notes, Fun Facts, Highlights:
- Samson Nacua
tied his career-high in receiving yards against Stanford, finishing with 70 yards on two catches. His 57-yard touchdown reception was a career-long and the longest reception on the team this season.
- With his 160-yard game against Stanford last week, Zack Moss
became the 14th player in Utah history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in his career. The junior running back has 2,020 career rushing yards, which ranks 12th in school history.
- Tyler Huntley
crossed the 1,000-yard passing mark in game five against Stanford. He also hit the mark in his fi fth game of 2017, although it was Utah's seventh game (he missed two games with an injury).
- Sophomore defensive end Maxs Tupai
made his first career start against Stanford. He has two season tackles (1.0 sack) and a blocked field goal.
- Chase Hansen
ranks third nationally in tackles for loss per game (2.0) and his team-leading 10.0 tackles for loss is second in the Pac-12. He is tied for seventh in the Pac-12 (second on the team) with 3.0 sacks.
- Jaylon Johnson
's 100-yard interception return against Stanford was just the third 100-yard interception return in Utah's history and is the longest interception return in the nation this season. He earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week for his performance.
- Matt Gay
went 4-for-4 in field goals against Stanford (49, 48, 37 and 34 yards), tying his career high. He also went 4-for-4 twice in 2017 (San Jose State, BYU). He also earned Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week and was a Lou Groza Star of the Week.
- Kyle Whittingham
was named the Bobby Dodd Trophy National Coach of the Week after Utah's win over Stanford.
This Week's Utah Players Of The Week:
- Offensive: The Offensive Line
- Defense: Bradlee Anae
- Special Teams: Matt Gay
- Scout Team Offense: Thomas Yasmin
- Scout Team Defense: Jonoven Smith
- Scout Team Special Teams: Stone Azarcon
Voices from Practice
Head Coach Kyle Whittingham
on handling success:
'That's always a concern. That's part of the equation every year is being able to handle that. You want to be able to handle bad performances and put them behind you and you want to be able to do the same with success, but you want to build on that at the same time. It was a very positive game but Arizona doesn't care how we played against Stanford. Like I said, we need to build on that."
Whittingham on former NFL player Trevor Reilly practicing with the team:
"He's working the scout teams. He's a student assistant, which allows him to be out there. It gives us one more capable body to run scout team."
Receivers coach Guy Holliday
on the receivers knowing they needed to step up:
"I think a lot of it is taking ownership. We're young. They've taken ownership and the leaders have stepped up more. we've had back-to-back good games but on Friday all that goes away and they've got to come back and play. Players make plays, that's the bottom line. From a coaching standpoint, it stops when you hit the field. There's not much you can do when the play is going on, you can only demand so much and get so much and eventually it's up to them. I just told them, play with a chip on your shoulder. People are doubting you and it's up to you. You either prove them right or prove them wrong. They wanted to prove the naysayers wrong and I think they did a good job last Saturday."
Linebackers coach Justin Ena
on what he was happy about last week:
"Getting the turnovers and takeaways. That was a big deal for us. We're always looking for three takeaways and a score and we got four of them and a score last week. We've just got to keep being ball hawks. Coach [Morgan Scalley
] preaches that day in and day out.
Ena on the confidence of the players:
"Our guys on defense, and on offense, but they have a little chip on their shoulder that they've had throughout this whole year and they're going to keep on playing with it, because we want our guys to be nasty and tough and they're not going to bow to anybody, they're just going to keep on fighting."
Hear what Kyle Whittingham
had to say during his weekly press conference.
Your unusual fact of the week: