2008 Utah Utes Season

Posted Feb 8, 2009

2008 Utah Utes Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 Utah Utes

Jan. 2
2009 Sugar Bowl
Utah 31 … Alabama 17

Utah came out roaring going 68 yards in five plays and 1:19 with Brian Johnson connecting with Brent Casteel from seven yards out. Matt Asiata ran for a two-yard score, and Bradon Godfrey caught a 18-yard touchdown pass on the way to a 21-0 Ute lead. Alabama appeared ready to rally with a 52-yard Leigh Tiffin field goal and a 73-yard punt return for a score from Javier Arenas to cut the lead to 11 going into the locker room, and after recovering a Johnson fumble, the Tide got a four-yard Glen Coffee touchdown catch to pull within four. But Utah answered on the ensuing drive with David Reed catching a 28-yard touchdown pass. Alabama wouldn't threaten again, mostly because Utah's defensive line dominated with eight sacks, taking advantage of Bama being down to its third string left tackle.
Player of the Game: Utah QB Brian Johnson completed 27-of-41 passes for 336 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Alabama - Passing: John Parker Wilson, 18-30, 177 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Glen Coffee, 13-36. Receiving: Julio Jones, 7-77
Utah - Passing: Brian Johnson, 27-41, 336 yds, 3 TD
Matt Asiata, 13-29, 1 TD. Receiving: Freddie Brown, 12-125
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Sugar Bowl Quarter-by-Quarter, Play-by-Play Game Notes … Rushing yards: Alabama 31 – Utah 13 … Fourth quarter time of possession: Utah 11:29 – Bama 3:31 … Sacks: Utah 8-for-53 yards – Bama 2-for-10 yards … Penalties: Utah 10-for 91 – Bama 7-for-67 … Alabama's Marquis Johnson led all players with nine sacks. … Alabama's Bobby Greenwood made five tackles, a sack, two tackles for los and recovered a fumble.

- 2008 Utah Preview
- 2007 Utah Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2008 Record: 13-0

Aug. 30 at Michigan W 25-23
Sept. 6 UNLV W 42-21
Sept. 13 at Utah State W 58-10
Sept. 20 at Air Force W 30-23
Sept. 27 Weber State W 37-21
Oct. 2 Oregon State W 31-28
Oct. 11 at Wyoming W 40-7
Oct. 18 Colorado State W 49-16
Oct. 25
Nov. 1 at New Mexico W 13-10
Nov. 6 TCU W 13-10
Nov. 15 at San Diego St W 63-14
Nov. 22 BYU W 48-24
Sugar Bowl
Jan. 2 Alabama W 31-17

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Record: 9-

Aug. 30 at Oregon State L 24-7
Sept. 8
Air Force L 20-12
Sept. 15 UCLA W 44-6
Sept. 22
at UNLV L 27-0
Sept. 29 Utah State W 34-18
Oct. 5 at Louisville W 44-35
Oct. 13
SDSU W 23-7
Oct. 18 at TCU W 27-20
Oct. 27
at Colorado State W 27-3
Nov. 10 Wyoming W 50-0
Nov. 17 New Mexico W 28-10
Nov. 24 at BYU L 17-10
Poinsettia Bowl
Dec. 20 Navy 35-32

Nov. 22
Utah 48 … BYU 24
Utah won the Mountain West title as Brian Johnson threw four touchdown passes including two to Brent Casteel, and RB Mat Asiata connected with Chris Joppru for a fourth quarter score in what turned into a rough. Two Harvey Unga touchdown runs in the second quarter tied the game at 17, but Utah closed out on a 31-7 run helped by six takeaways from the defense. BYU QB Max Hall ran for an 11-yard score in the third quarter to pull the Cougars within three, but he imploded with five interceptions and a lost fumble to make the game a blowout.
Player of the game: Utah QB Brian Johnson completed 30-of-36 passes for 303 yards and four touchdowns, and he ran 13 times for 28 yards
Stat Leaders: BYU - Passing: Max Hall, 21-41, 205 yds, 5 INT
Rushing: Harvey Unga, 15-116, 2 TD. Receiving: Austin Collie, 10-104
Utah - Passing: Brian Johnson, 30-36, 303 yds, 4 TD
Rushing: Darrell Mack, 9-40. Receiving: Freddie Brown, 8-97
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... They did it. The world doesn't want to see the Utes play for the national title, and is lukewarm about letting them into the BCS, but they did it. They went 12-0, the got rid of their BYU demon, at least for this year, and they closed out a special season. The defense came up with takeaway after takeaway to end the drama in the second half, while Brian Johnson was flawless on offense. He misfired on a couple of third down plays, but he was cool and accurate until the end. Now it's time to let the chip on the shoulder build up. Get mad that the national championship isn't even a thought, and take it out on in the BCS game. That's what the coaching staff has to start selling as of right now.

Nov. 15
Utah 63 … San Diego State 14
Utah recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff and scored soon after on the first of five Brian Johnson touchdown passes. Johnson and Freddie Brown hooked up on scoring passes from four and five yards out, and he found David Reed for touchdowns from 32 and three yards away on the way to a 25-7 halftime lead. The Utes dominated the fourth quarter with one-yard touchdown runs from Matt Asiata and Ray Stowers and interception returns for touchdowns from 89 and 38 yards out from Deshawn Richard. Ryan Lindley threw two touchdown passes for the Aztecs.
Player of the game: Utah QB Brian Johnson completed 23-of-38 passes for 283 yards and five touchdowns with an interception, and he ran seven times for 31 yards
Stat Leaders: San Diego State - Passing: Ryan Lindley, 23-41, 247 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Tyler Campbell, 5-40. Receiving: Atiyyah Henderson, 6-29
Utah - Passing: Brian Johnson, 23-38, 283 yds, 5 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Matt Asiata, 14-83, 1 TD. Receiving: Freddie Brown, 11-110, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Is Utah clicking or is Utah clicking? Against San Diego State the Utes rolled up 30 first downs and 520 yards of total offense, but most impressively, the offense converted 13-of-14 third down chances. That shows just how bad the Aztec defense is, but it also shows that Brian Johnson and the passing game are on just before the big showdown against BYU. The run defense has to continue to shine, while ball control will be key against the Cougars. Johnson has to keep the chains moving, but BYU's defense isn't San Diego State's.

Nov. 8

Utah 13 … TCU 10
Brian Johnson connected with Freddie Brown on a nine-yard slant pattern for a touchdown with 48 seconds to play to give Utah its first lead of the game, and Robert Johnson snuffed out TCU's final drive with an interception to seal the win. TCU had chances to put the game away, but couldn't as Ross Evans hit the upright with a late field goal and pushed a second attempt wide right. Either kick would've put the Horned Frogs up seven. TCU got all its points in the first quarter on a 37-yard Evans field goal and a three-yard Ryan Christian run, but that was it. Utah got two Louie Sakoda field goals, including a 37-yarder as time ran out in the first half, and didn't get back on the board until Johnson took the offense 80 yards in nine plays for the win.
Player of the game: Utah QB Brian Johnson completed 24-of-39 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: TCU - Passing: Andy Dalton, 16-37, 251 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Aaron Brown, 15-106. Receiving: Jimmy Young, 6-97
Utah - Passing: Brian Johnson, 24-39, 230 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Matt Asiata, 6-19. Receiving: Freddie Brown, 9-105, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Utah did nothing to suggest it could go on a late march against the TCU defense, but Brian Johnson was cool, calm, and collected after misfiring on a throw to the end zone and pitched a perfect strike for the game-winning score. Give credit to the offensive line for giving Johnson just enough time to produce. Also give the defense credit for bending but not breaking, and getting just enough big plays to put TCU in poor positions. Now the game is really on for the Utes. After the layup at San Diego State, it's a one-game shot against BYU for a BCS slot.

Nov. 1
Utah 13 … New Mexico 10
Utah got Louie Sakoda field goals from 43 and 38 yards out and Brent Casteel caught a 10-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter on the way to a tough win. New Mexico managed a 10-yard Rodney Ferguson touchdown run at the end of the third quarter, but couldn't get close late to try to tie it up with a final drive stalling at midfield. New Mexico only converted 3-of-15 chances on third and fourth downs.
Player of the game: Utah PK/P Louie Sakoda only averaged 39.4 yards per punt, but he put four inside the 20 and hit field goals from 43 and 38 yards out
Stat Leaders: New Mexico - Passing: Brad Gruner, 16-25, 165 yds
Rushing: Brad Gruner, 16-62. Receiving: Bryant Williams, 5-54
Utah - Passing: Brian Johnson, 23-32, 195 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Matt Asiata, 12-80. Receiving: Freddie Brown, 7-69
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Utah might not have been pretty against New Mexico, but it got through the battle and can now concentrate fully on the TCU showdown. Brent Johnson got blitzed and had to dump off his throws more than usual, and the receivers didn't do enough after the catch. Meanwhile, the running game was solid, but with nine penalties and two turnovers, that was just enough for things to stall far too often. The defense did a fantastic job of keying on Rodney Ferguson and shutting down the New Mexico ground game.

Oct. 18
Utah 49 …Colorado State 16
Using a two quarterback system, Utah got Corbin Louks touchdown runs from 21 and 69 yards out and Brian Johnson touchdown passes from 32 yards out to Freddie Brown and 33 yards out to David Reed. Matt Asiata added two three-yard touchdown runs. Colorado State managed a 29-yard Dion Morton touchdown catch in the first quarter to tie it at seven, but only came up with three Jason Smith field goals, including a 52-yarder, the rest of the way. Utah outgained CSU 549 yards to 298.
Player of the game: Utah QB Corbin Louks completed one pass for 37 yards and ran five times for 109 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Colorado State - Passing: Billy Farris, 19-33, 166 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Gartrell Johnson, 20-95. Receiving: Dion Morton, 5-39, 1 TD
Utah - Passing: Brian Johnson, 18-26, 185 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Corbin Louks, 5-109, 2 TD. Receiving: Jereme Brooke, 6-34
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Utah just gave TCU and BYU a different look to worry about. Brian Johnson might have tied Alex Smith as the school's all-time winningest quarterback with 21, but it was Corbin Louks who was the real star against Colorado State showing he could add more pop to the running mix. The passing game was hardly ignored, with Johnson coming up with an efficient day, but this was the team's best, sharpest running day of the year. With New Mexico up next, the Utes have another week of experimenting before dealing with TCU.

Oct. 11
Utah 40 … Wyoming 7
Utah started off the scoring with a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown from Sean Smith, got two field goals from Louie Sakoda, and a blocked punt for a touchdown for Aiona Key for a 20-0 lead before the offense was able to get into the end zone on a Matt Asiata three-yard run with five seconds to play in the first half. Asiata's 13-yard touchdown catch early in the third capped off a 34-0 run before Wyoming finally got on the board with an 18-yard Greg Bolling catch. Wyoming turned it over five times, Utah didn't give it away.
Player of the game: Utah DB Sean Smith made two tackles and two interceptions taking one for a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Wyoming - Passing: Karsten Sween, 8-18, 52 yds, 3 INT
Rushing: Devin Moore, 23-106. Receiving: Brandon Stewart, 4-21
Utah - Passing: Brian Johnson, 10-19, 110, 1 TD
Rushing: Corbin Louks, 9-50. Receiving: Freddie Brown, 4-57
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... It was great that the special teams and defense got into the act against Wyoming, but the offense only came up with 242 yards of total offense and struggled in the running game. To be fair, the Utes had already put the game away by the time the offense had to do much of anything, but it still would've been nice if the running game was a bit more productive. Brian Johnson didn't take any shots down the field. He didn't have to.

Oct. 2
Utah 31 ... Oregon State 28
Utah stunned Oregon State with a 11 points in the final 1:29. Bradon Godfrey caught a 25-yard touchdown pass, and Brian Johnson tied it at 28 with a run for a two-point conversion. The defense forced a three-and-out, and Utah took advantage going 35 yards in six plays setting up a 37-yard Louie Sakoda field goal as time ran out. The Beavers got two Lye Moevao touchdown passes and a 26-yard interception return for a score from Al Afalava, while Utah kept pace with two Louie Sakoda field goals before the game-winner, a 14-yard touchdown catch from Freddie Brown and a 12-yard Brent Casteel scoring run. OSU outgained the Utes 405 yards to 337.
Player of the game: Utah LB Mike Wright made 15 tackles, a sack, and broke up two passes
Oregon State
- Passing: Lyle Moevao, 21-31, 313 yds, 2 TD
Jacquizz Rodgers, 25-101, 1 TD. Receiving: James Rodgers, 5-82
- Passing: Brian Johnson, 17-30, 201 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Matt Asiata, 7-53. Receiving: Brent Casteel, 5-105
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... If Utah needed a sign as to whether or not this was going to be a magical season, the win over Oregon State might have proved it. The team didn't give up late, Brian Johnson came up with the two key drives needed, and the Utes are unbeaten with the relatively easy part of the slate coming up against Wyoming and Colorado State. The run defense was fantastic, holding the Beavers to just 92 yards and a 2.9-yard averages, but the offense sputtered for long stretches. That's fine; it came through when it had to.

Sept. 27
Utah 37 … Weber State 21
Former Utah head coach Ron McBride's Weber State team got ripped up as the Utes efficiently rolled to a 37-7 lead as Brian Johnson threw two touchdown passes and Matt Asiata ran for two one-yard scores. Louie Sakoda became the program's all-time leading scorer with three field goals and four extra points. Weber State tied it at seven with a 35-yard Tim Toone touchdown catch, but the final 14 points came late in the fourth quarter when the Utes had their starters on the bench..
Player of the game: Utah QB Brian Johnson completed 18-of-22 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns with an interception 
Weber State
- Passing: Cameron Higgins, 24-38, 303 yds, 3 TD
Trevyn Smith, 18-83. Receiving: Tim Toone, 6-119, 1 TD
- Passing: Brian Johnson, 18-22, 194 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Darrell Mack, 12-58. Receiving: Freddie Brown, 4-36
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Utah had the near-perfect light scrimmage before facing a suddenly-hot Oregon State. Weber State provided little resistance to Brian Johnson and the Ute passing game as he completed 18-of-22 passes, while Darrell Mack and Matt Asiata rumbled their way to provide a bit of balance. The starters also got to sit for a good chunk of the fourth quarter to rest up. Louie Sakoda further cemented himself as one of the nation's top kickers as he became the school's all-time leading scorer.

Sept. 20
Utah 30 … Air Force 23
Darrell Mack powered in for a nine-yard score with 58 seconds to play as Utah overcame a sloppy performance to get by Air Force. The Falcons only ran for 53 yards and were outgained 440 yards to 191, but they managed 16 second quarter points helped by a Jake Paulson fumble return for a score and a eight-yard Kyle Lumpkin scoring grab. Utah would pound its way into the lead with Mack running for two short second half touchdown runs before his final score, but Air Force tie the score late on a one-yard Savier Stephens run. The Utes turned it over three times, but they held on to the ball for 36:38 and had 24 first downs to nine.
Player of the game: Utah RB Darrell Mack ran 18 times for 101 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Air Force
- Passing: Shea Smith, 7-13, 138 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Kyle Lumpkin, 12-36. Receiving: Kevin Fogler, 4-93
- Passing: Brian Johnson, 16-23, 243 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Matt Asiata, 19-116. Receiving: Bradon Godfrey, 4-47
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Give Air Force credit for staying alive against Utah when nothing was working. The ground game was stuffed, Shea Smith couldn't get the passing game to go, and the defense was getting pounded on, but still it was tied at 23 going into the final minutes. The schedule isn't bad over the next several weeks with BYU and TCU not coming until mid-November, so now is the time to go on a big run. To do that, the ground game has to get going again.
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Utah kept screwing up against Air Force with turnovers and missed opportunities, but the running of Darrell Mack and Matt Asiata, who each went for over 100 yards, and the strong play from the defense got the win. However, Utah badly outplayed the Falcons and still needed a touchdown in the final minute to get the win. Playing Weber State next week should help give several key players some rest before dealing with Oregon State.

Sept. 13
Utah 58 … Utah State 10
Utah State scored on its first drive of the game with Otis Nelson catching a nine-yard touchdown pass. That would be it for the fun. Utah rolled up 446 yards to Utah State's 116 with Matt Asiata running for three short touchdown runs and Freddie Brown and Colt Sampson each caching short scoring passes. The Ute defense that held the Aggies to 27 rushing yards got into the scoring act with a 20-yard fumble recovery for a score form Elijah Wesson as part of a 30-point first half run. Utah held on to the ball for 39:30.
Player of the game:
Utah QB Brian Johnson completed 22-of-31 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, and he ran for 21 yards.
Stat Leaders: Utah State
- Passing: Diondre Borel, 5-134, 62 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Diondre Borel, 11-23. Receiving: Curtis Marsh, 3-51
Utah - Passing: Brian Johnson, 22-31, 204 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Darrell Mack, 14-75. Receiving: Bradon Godfrey, 6-57
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Utah didn't let up against poor Utah State, making a statement for a full 60 minutes. It might have been overkill, the game was well in hand early in the second half, but the Utes needed to show that they could stay focused for a full game. However, there were issues. There were seven penalties and three turnovers, but it was still an easy blowout.

Sept. 6
Utah 42 … UNLV 21
It took a half for Utah to get rolling, but the floodgates opened and UNLV couldn't do anything to close them. The Rebels got up 14-7 on two short touchdown runs from Frank Summers, but Brian Johnson kept the Utes alive with a 56-yard touchdown run. And then came the scoring run. Matt Asiata scores on a two-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the first half leading Utah to 28 straight points. Brian Johnson threw two touchdown passes and Asiata hit Jerome Brooks for a 32-yard score. The two teams combined for 20 penalties for 140 yards.
Player of the game:
 Utah QB Brian Johnson completed 15-of-25 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns and ran five times for 80 yards and a score
Stat Leaders: UNLV - Passing: Omar Clayton, 19-30, 150 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Frank Summers, 23-87, 2 TD  Receiving: Ryan Wolfe, 9-61
Utah - Passing: Brian Johnson, 15-24, 183 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Brian Johnson, 5-80, 1 TD. Receiving: Brent Casteel, 4-35
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Utah can be forgiven for coming out a little bit sluggish against UNLV, but Brian Johnson changed all of that. He showed his pre-knee injury flash with a big early scoring run, and when he got hot, the offense became unstoppable. Consistency will be the key throughout for the Utes, and that'll include even more from the running game. Darrell Mack and Matt Asiata combined to run for 102 yards.

Aug. 30
Utah 25 ... Michigan 23
Utah cranked out a 19-0 run in the second and third quarters on four Louie Sakoda field goals and 19-yard Bradon Godfred touchdown grab. But Michigan came up with a blocked punt and rallied with a 33-yard touchdown catch from Junior Hemingway and a three-yard Sam McGuffie scoring run to close the gap to two with over six minutes to play after the two-point conversion failed. Michigan had three more chances to come through, but ended up stalling at midfield on the final drive. Utah committed 15 penalties for 137 yards, while Michigan committed eight for 53 yards.
Player of the game: Utah's Louie Sakoda connected on all four of his field goals, including a 53-yarder, and averaged 47 yards on his six punts.
Stat Leaders: Utah
- Passing: Brian Johnson, 21-33, 305 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Matt Asiata, 13-77. Receiving: Bradon Godfrey, 7-84, 1 TD
- Passing: Nick Sheridan, 11-19, 98 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Brandon Minor, 4-21. Receiving: Martavious Odoms, 5-7

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
No matter how much rebuilding Michigan is undergoing, winning at the Big House is the kind of special achievement that could carry Utah to a huge season; it's the ultimate confidence booster. The Utes were resilient, holding on as the Wolverines rallied, but it would've been nice if the ground game could've close things out. Instead, Utah finished with just 36 rushing yards averaging 0.8 yards per carry. On the plus side, Brian Johnson was tremendous with his 305-yard passing day. Louie Sakoda is a weapon as a kicker and a punter, nailing all four of his field goals and pinning the Michigan offense deep in its own territory three times. To build on their opening day success, however, Utah needs to do a much better job on the line after having problems with the ground game and struggling to product Johnson, who was sacked six times.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Aiona Key WR 6-4, 209, Jr. JC Citrus Heights, Calif. Mt. SAC
2007 all-conference player for Mount San Antonio College ... set a Mt. SAC touchdown reception record with 17 ... 80 receptions for 1,112 yards ... also blocked four punts and returned one for a touchdown in 2007 ... initially signed with Boise State, redshirting in 2005 and playing for special teams and as a backup receiver in 2006 (no stats) ... plays for the Mt. SAC basketball team and is currently averaging 12 points and nine rebounds a game ... prepped at Mesa Verde High (Calif.) ... first-team all-state and all-league as a wide receiver ... first-team all-league defensive back ... 36 receptions for 618 yards and nine touchdowns; 80 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions as a senior in 2004 ... also returned six punts for 118 yards ... second-team all-metro as a junior when he had 16 receptions for 410 yards and three touchdowns, as well as 61 tackles, one sack, four interceptions and 303 return yards ... also lettered in basketball and track ... personal best 7'3" in the high jump ... won the national championship with a 7'1" jump.

Potential Instant Impact Players

Dudley LaPorte TE 6-3, 240, Jr. JC Stratford, Conn. Santa Barbara CC
Nation's leading junior college tight end in receptions (30), yards (500) and touchdowns (4) in 2007 ... first-team all-Western Conference ... averaged 16.7 yards per catch and 55.6 yards per game for Santa Barbara City College ... originally signed with Eastern Michigan in 2006 ... prepped at Stratford High (Conn.) and Milford Academy (New Berlin, N.Y.) ... all-state wide receiver as a senior in 2004 ... all-Connecticut Post defensive end

Sausan Shakerin RB 6-2, 208, Fr. HS Sandy, Utah Alta HS

2007 Utah class 5A MVP ... first-team all-conference as a senior ... No. 20 ranked prep running back in the nation and the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Utah according to Scout.com ... in 2006, he became the first junior ever named Mr. Football in Utah

Rest of the Class

Sam Brenner 6-3 280 OL Oceanside, Calif. (Oceanside HS)
Lamar Chapman 5-8 160 DB Compton, Calif. (El Camino JC)
DeVonte Christopher 6-0 181 QB Las Vegas, Nev. (Canyon Springs HS)
Siaki Cravens 6-1 218 LB Temecula, Calif. (Temecula Valley HS)
Zach Davila 6-4 315 OL Vail, Ariz. (Cienega HS)
Aiona Key 6-4 209 WR Citrus Heights, Calif. (Mount San Antonio College)
Dave Kruger 6-5 254 DL Orem, Utah (Timpanogos HS)
Ryan Lacy 5-10 183 WR Antelope, Calif. (Oakmont HS)
Dudley LaPorte 6-3 240 TE Stratford, Conn. (Santa Barbara CC)
Luke Matthews 6-1 205 WR Phoenix, Ariz. (Desert Vista HS)
Kendrick Moeai 6-5 200 WR West Jordan, Utah (Copper Hills HS)
David Reed 6-0 184 WR New Britain, Conn. (Pasadena City College)
Sausan Shakerin 6-2 208 RB Sandy, Utah (Alta HS)
Sealver Siliga 6-3 345 OL/DL West Jordan, Utah (Copper Hills HS)
Derek Tuimauga 6-4 335 OL South Jordan, Utah (Bingham HS)

2008 Early Lookahead
Why to get excited: If it wasn't for a 4th-and-forever play by BYU, the Utes would've gone been on a nine-game winning streak to go into the off-season. Now the team is back loaded with the league's best offensive line, a fantastic backfield with QB Brian Johnson and RB Darrell Mack returning, and the defense welcoming back three of the four starting defensive backs from the league's best pass defense. Considering the talent and experience returning, a win at Michigan to start the season isn't far-fetched. That would set a big tone for the rest of the year.
Why to be grouchy: The defensive line loses two excellent all-around players in Martail Burnett on the end and Gabe Long on the nose, and loses All-Mountain West SS Steve Tate and starting linebackers Joe Jiannoni and Malakai Mokofisi. Losing receivers Derrek Richards and Brian Hernandez won't sting too much, but they were reliable veterans.
The number one thing to work on is: Making Brian Johnson the Brian Johnson who dominated the league two years ago. Never healthy after the opening game loss to Oregon State, he later came back and was efficient, but he wasn't the same weapon who looked like Mountain West Player of the Year material. If he's back to form, Utah could be unstoppable.
Biggest offensive loss: WR Derrick Richards
Biggest defensive loss: DE Martail Burnett
Best returning offensive player: RB Darrell Mack, Sr. & QB Brian Johnson, Sr.
Best returning defensive player: CB Brice McCain, Sr.

2007 Recap
Recap: The Utes started slowly and finished on a tear in a season that was highlighted by some very strange results from the program.  Impacted by a spate of crippling injuries, Utah opened 1-3, including a head-scratching loss to UNLV, but regrouped to go 8-1, capped by a narrow three-point escape of Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl.  RB Darrell Mack evolved into a life-saver for the offense, rushing for 1,204 yards and scoring 15 touchdowns after starter Matt Asiata broke his leg in the opener.       

Offensive Player of the Year: RB Darrell Mack

Defensive Player of the Year: S Steve Tate

Biggest Surprise: Just a week after losing to Air Force, the last thing anyone expected was a Utah win over No. 11 UCLA, let alone a rout.  The Utes had five takeaways and three touchdowns from Mack, scoring the last 37 points in an improbable 44-6 ambush of the Bruins. 

Biggest Disappointment: The Utes came tantalizingly close to closing the season on a nine-game winning streak, while snapping rival BYU's string of 14 straight Mountain West victories.  They fell short, however, on after the Cougars traveled the length of the field in the final minute for the game-winning touchdown.

Looking Ahead: The Utes head into the offseason as upbeat as they've been since Urban Meyer left for Gainesville.  The program returns eight starters on offense, 10 counting Asiata and shelved WR Brent Casteel.  Versatile QB Brian Johnson could be in store for a monster season after playing most of 2007 with a separated shoulder. 


Related Stories
Scout 300 Shakeup
 -by ScoutFootball.com  Jan 15, 2009
2009 BCS Championship Game Notebook
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jan 9, 2009
Scouts Weigh in on the Top 25
 -by ScoutFootball.com  Jan 8, 2009

Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Football > Utah
[View My HotList]