Utah Utes shut out California, break into top 10

The Utah Utes football team defeated California 35-0, Salt Lake City, Utah, Oct. 26, 2019 | Photo courtesy of University of Utah Athletics, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah football team notched its first shutout since joining the Pac-12 and its second of the season, beating California 35-0 to improve to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in Pac-12 play. 

The Utes were dominant on both sides of the ball, racking up 473 yards of total offense while holding California to 83. 

The Utes averaged 6.6 yards per play on offense with Cal averaging just 1.9 with Utah holding the ball for 37:39 of the game compared to 22:21 from the Bears. 

Zack Moss broke two school records while leading the Utes with 115 yards rushing and a career-high 89 yards receiving, scoring two rushing touchdowns. He now holds the school records for career 100-yard rushing games (15) and career rushing touchdowns (33) after his 204 all-purpose yard performance. 

Tyler Huntley finished the game 11-of-17 passing (0 INT, 1 TD) for 214 yards. Jason Shelley led the offense in the second half, going 4-of-5 passing (0 INT, 1 TD) for 28 yards while adding eight carries for 24 yards and a rushing touchdown. Between Huntley and Shelley, the duo targeted eight different players for receptions with Moss leading the way with his 89 yards. 

Bryan Thompson had two catches for 47 yards and a touchdown while Brant Kuithe added three catches for 30 yards and a touchdown. On defense, the Utes had seven tackles for loss and three sacks with Terrell Burgess leading Utah in total tackles with six, adding one tackle for loss.

Devin Lloyd and Javelin Guidry added four tackles each while Josh Nurse and Leki Fotu contributed three tackles each with Nurse notching a forced fumble and Fotu grabbing one of the Utes’ three sacks. 

Utah’s first touchdown of the game set a school record as Moss broke the program record for career rushing touchdowns with his four-yard rushing score, giving him 32 in his career. The rushing touchdown was the end of a 99-yard drive that included a 21-yard reception from Kuithe and a 69-yard catch from Moss to put the Utes up 7-0 with 4:50 remaining in the first quarter. 

The Utes jumped out to a 14-0 lead with 12:48 on the clock in the second quarter with Utah’s second 90-yard drive of the game. Moss got the Utes into Cal territory with an 18-yard rush with Thompson finishing the drive with his third touchdown of the season, a 40-yard receiving score to end a 10-play drive that burned 4:32 off the clock. 

Utah extended its lead to 21-0 on another rushing touchdown, this time at the hands of Shelley with 4:50 left to play in the second quarter. The 6:26-long scoring drive comprised of 23 rushing yards by four different rushers with the remaining of the 72-yard drive coming off three different players catching passes for the three-touchdown lead. The Utes continued to push the needle with Kuithe scoring his third receiving touchdown of the season with 20 seconds left in the second quarter. Kuithe was found open to the outside on a one-yard receiving touchdown to give Utah a 28-0 advantage on the end of an 11-play, 76-yard drive.

The Utah defense was smothering in the first half, holding Cal to just 53 yards of total offense (33 rush, 20 pass). In the second quarter alone, Utah averaged 7.3 yards per play compared to Cal’s 1.3, with Utah accumulating 30 plays to the Bears’ seven. 

Moss broke another school record with 9:26 to play in the third quarter, reaching the 100-yard rushing mark for his 15th career 100-yard rushing game, passing Devontae Booker and John White for the program record. Moss accounted for all 50 yards of the scoring drive, including his 10-yard rushing touchdown, giving Utah a 35-0 lead on just four plays (12.5 ypp). 

Both teams were held scoreless in the fourth quarter, with the Utes holding Cal to just 24 yards of total offense in the quarter. The Bears were only able to produce five rushing attempts for an average of 2.2 yards per carry in the fourth quarter and finished the game only crossing over the 50-yard line once.

With the victory, the Utes improved to 7-1 on the season, 4-1 in Pac-12 play. The win also helped Utah move up three spots in the latest AP Top 25 poll, going from No. 12 to No. 9.

The Utes return to action this coming Saturday when they travel to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies.

Written by University of Utah Athletics Department

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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