Former Utah, NFL OL Zane Beadles Reflects On Special 2008 Sugar Bowl Season

May 30, 2021, 12:54 PM
Zane Beadles - Utah Utes...
Brent Casteel #5 of the Utah Utes celebrates with teammates Freddie Brown #88, Zane Beadles #68 and Caleb Schlauderaff #72 during the game against the BYU Cougars at Rice-Eccles Stadium on November 22, 2008 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former Utah and NFL offensive lineman Zane Beadles told some stories from the great 2008 Utes Sugar Bowl season.

The former Utah great Zane Beadles joined the Crimson Corner via live stream on Friday afternoon to help make a special announcement, along with tell some stories from the 2008 Sugar Bowl season and discuss recent events in the NFL.

KSL Sports will be hosting a “Sugar Bowl Virtual Reunion” on Friday, June 4 at 10 a.m. MDT. It will be a unique stream with former Utah and NFL LB Stevenson Sylvester and myself hosting the event. We will have two groups of four players throughout 45 to an hour of the stream.

More Information On Sugar Bowl Virtual Reunion

The stream will feature the following players on Friday, June 4 at 10 a.m. MDT.

Group 1

  • Mike Wright, LB
  • Robert Johnson, S
  • Matt Asiata, RB
  • Derrick Shelby, DE

Group 2

  • Robert Conley, OL
  • Brent Casteel, WR
  • Joe Dale, S
  • R.J. Stanford, CB

You can find the stream at three different places, including the KSL Sports Facebook page, Periscope (Twitter) or YouTube channel.

Sugar Bowl Season Memories For Zane Beadles

Beadles looked back on that special 2008 season where the Utes finished undefeated and busted the BCS for the second time in school history with a win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

In order to stay undefeated, Utah needed to beat TCU at home in what is considered the biggest win and the loudest that Rice-Eccles Stadium has been in history. Beadles was blocking for Brian Johnson that night and had a ton of memories coming in when discussing it on the stream.

“I’m actually getting a little bit of chills right now thinking about it,” Beadles told KSL Sports. “The stadium was unbelievable. Just rocking. Somebody sent me a video clip afterwards of the people that were calling the game, talking about how the press box was shaking, physically shaking. That last drive, everything on the line for that season but no doubt in anyone’s mind that we were going to come away with that win.

“Down in the red zone, fourth down, we needed to convert the first down. I vividly remember this. We ran a five man protection, so no back in the backfield. They were bringing blitz zero, we knew they were bringing more guys than we could block. I remember taking my set and coming off on the linebacker that was blitzing and leaving the defensive end, knowing that Brian (Johnson) knew he needed to get rid of the ball quickly. I remember him letting go with a ball and I think it was Freddie Brown who caught that pass and Freddie was not even looking at the time that Brian released the ball. It timed up perfectly. As soon as Freddie got his head around. The ball was right there, converted that fourth down, went on to score, went on to maintain the record. That was definitely a special moment. Probably a moment that was a catalyst that kind of launched us into the remainder of that season into the Sugar Bowl and into the fully undefeated season.”

Going into the Sugar Bowl, Alabama had overlooked the Utes and didn’t seem motivated to play a Mountain West team in a BCS Bowl. That didn’t stop the Utes in their preparation for one of the biggest games in school history.

“We definitely heard it in the media, but we didn’t care, Beadles said. “You know, that’s their issue to deal with. If you can’t get excited and get motivated to play in a Sugar Bowl, no matter if you think that you shouldn’t be in that game or not, then I question your motives as a team and as a football player. So you know, our focus was we’re gonna go in and we’re gonna win this game. It’s a huge stage for us. But whether they believe it or not, it’s a huge stage for them too. I think you’d look at that game and the performance that we put on, and then you look at what happened with Bama after that. It was a huge wake up call for (Nick) Saban and the team as a whole. I think they went on to win like 22 or 24 straight games after that loss. So, you know, I’d like to take some credit for a Bama national championship or two.”

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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