Devin Kaufusi Recalls What Changed After Utah’s 1-2 Start

Dec 29, 2021, 9:43 AM | Updated: 2:07 pm
Utah Utes vs. Oregon Ducks 2021...
The Utah football team runs onto the field before a game between the Oregon Ducks and the Utah Utes November 20, 2021, at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah football is in Pasadena preparing for its first-ever trip to the Rose Bowl, fans are excited especially since the season didn’t start off this well.

The start to this 2021 season did not go as planned. The Utes started 1-2 with losses to BYU and San Diego State

During those first three games, Utah was struggling to find an identity. The offensive line wasn’t playing well, quarterback Charlie Brewer was replaced by Cam Rising in the San Diego State game, and the running game of Tavion Thomas had not yet taken off.

So, what happened?

It is clear that the offensive line was finally figuring things out, Thomas was given more opportunities to run the ball after having some fumbling issues early on, and it was clear that Rising was a better fit at quarterback.

Devin Kaufusi joined Unrivaled for his final appearance of this season and described how the team is a family and that all they had was each other sitting at a disappointing 1-2 record after non-conference play.

“I’ve always [been] told and what I’ve seen, it’s not the coach’s team, it’s the player’s team. So, sitting 1-2 in the locker room in this position I’ve been in before is really cool and really awesome to see the leaders step up and the guys rally together.

“Having that players meeting that Sunday knows it’s like, ‘OK, this is awesome. This is the right stuff that’s happening and the right attitude. We’re all encouraged about who we are still because that’s all that matters is the people in this room.’ That’s what we talk about week in, week out,” Kaufusi said.

“Coach Kyle [Whittingham] mentioned ‘the bandwagoners have left and it’s just us and then we’ve seen them trying to jump on. But you know what? Screw them, it’s just us. It’s this our team. That’s all that matters here,”‘ Kaufsui said. “It’s been that much sweeter knowing that and that we’ve been able to turn it around.”

No one was believing Utah, it took until Week 11 when they were 6-3 to crack the College Football Playoff poll and a week later to be in the top 25 of all three major polls. All the Utes were doing during that time were winning football games with just the one setback in a now curious loss to Oregon State.

This team is peaking at the right time with its two big wins over Oregon in the last month of a season, a future first-round draft pick in linebacker Devin Loyd, and they have one of the best running backs in the country in Thomas, whose 20 touchdowns is tied for third nationally.

It is not just the stand out players on this team to why they turned it around their 1-2 start, but it was a full team effort of coaches and players who believed that even with that slow start they could be something special and they did it and are now playing in the Rose Bowl vs. Ohio State.

Tune into Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 3-7 p .m. on 1280 The Zone and 97.5 FM or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

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