When senior defensive end John Frank finally got his 26th career sack to tie the Utah school record, it came so late in Saturday's game he didn't know what he had done.
"I didn't personally have a good game. I was a little under the weather. I was out there in a daze," said Frank, who got his 7-yard sack of Sean Stein on the sixth play of the fourth quarter. "I didn't realize what I did until one of the players came up and said, 'Congratulations, John.' I'm like, 'What? Oh, yeah. OK, I got the sack record.'"I just wanted to get the big win, and if that came, it was just a bonus."
He entered the game leading the Mountain West in sacks with 11, and that was his 12th for minus-80 yards. With it, he tied Filipo Mokofisi's 26-sack U. record that has stood since 1985, and Frank has a game left. His school records for tackles-for-loss yardage moved to 103 for a single season and 119 for a career. Ahead of him yet is Luther Elliss' school record of 29 career tackles for loss. Frank has 28.
LIKE MIKE: Tailback Mike Anderson broke his career high of 163 yards with a 9-yard run on Utah's first drive of the third quarter. He had 122 yards on 15 carries in the first half and hit 166 on his eighth carry of the second. His 204-yard game is seventh in Ute history. Eddie Johnson leads with 248 in 1984.
CONFIDENCE: Stevonne Smith came into Saturday's game with 18 punt returns for 278 yards, a 15.4-yard average per runback, but he had just 40 yards on six returns in the Colorado State/Wyoming losses. He was worrying about dropping the ball for a turnover, but Saturday, his confidence returned. "The last couple, I didn't feel comfortable and didn't run up to the ball. Saturday, I didn't worry about nothing," he said.
"He really changed the whole complexion of the game," Coach Ron McBride said of Smith, who returned back-to-back New Mexico punts to end the first quarter and start the second for 70- and 52-yard TDs to put Utah up 28-7. "Today, he attacked the ball."
Smith said that on his 52-yard return, on which he was seemingly stopped by New Mexico tacklers, he simply kept his feet moving like tailbacks Anderson and Omar Bacon. "I just moved my feet. Everyone stopped, and I kept going, and they were like, 'Uh-oh,'" he said. Like Cinderella, he left a shoe behind in one would-be tackler's hands.
MASH ZONE: QB Darnell Arceneaux, out for the season with the third concussion of his career, said he will wait at least until after the season and maybe until spring practice before he makes a decision on his future. He told the Deseret News on Thursday that he has considered quitting football, because he has hurt the team with his many injuries, or that he might change positions. Saturday, Arceneaux said he will talk it over with his parents and McBride, but he seemed to lean to a move to receiver or safety so he can "contribute somewhere." He said he won't play if he doesn't feel he can do it at "110 percent."
"Darnell has mixed emotions," said McBride. "You talk to him one day, and he says he's not going to play football, and the next day, he'll say, 'I'm going to suit up next week.' That's Darnell. You've got to know that he's kind of like the ocean."