Utes Weather Storms To Win Pac-12 South Title

Nov 18, 2018, 12:13 AM
The Utah defense celebrates after stopping a fake point try during the University of Utah football ...
The Utah defense celebrates after stopping a fake point try during the University of Utah football game against the University of Colorado at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)
(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utes have had to weather several storms this season to keep their Pac-12 title hopes alive so It’s fitting that the Utes had to weather a literal storm in Boulder Saturday.

They overcame a slow start in the snow to defeat Colorado 30-7 and thanks to Oregon’s win over Arizona State the Utes have finally captured what has alluded them since joining the Pac-12 in 2011; a South Division title.

“I’m proud of the way these guys hung in there all season long, and handled adversity all season long,” Kyle Whittingham said after the Utes win over the Buffs. “I don’t know if I’ve been around a team that has handled adversity any better than these guys.”

The journey to the title featured several bumps along the way.

There was the 0-2 start with loses to the Washington schools.

A bad penalty call against Washington State wiped out a punt return for a touchdown by Britain Covey in a game they lost by just 4 points.

There was the disappointing loss in Tempe that cost them more than just control of their destiny in the division race. They lost quarterback Tyler Huntley for the season.

Then days later Zack Moss was lost for the season.

The Utes had to replace a 1,000 rusher and turned to a freshman quarterback who had never started a college game.

They were able to overcome all this to finally win the South.

“It’s a different team,” says senior kicker Matt Gay. “The vibe of the team, the personnel, guys have really bought in.”

Jason Shelley has been outstanding replacing the injured Huntley. He led the Utes to a come-from-behind win over Oregon in his first start and followed it up with another turnover free performance in bad weather in Boulder.

Armand Shyne has rushed for 229 yards and a touchdown after stepping in for Zack Moss.

“These guys just have a lot of guts and a lot of toughness,” Whittingham says.

The Utes now prepare for the rivalry game as they host BYU on Saturday at 8:00 pm MT.

Then they will finally get a chance to represent the South in the Pac-12 Championship on November 30 in Santa Clara, California and try to achieve another first for the program; a Pac-12 Championship and a bid to the Rose Bowl.

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