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Ganther not needed against Pokes

Utes allow leading rusher to get some rest in blowout victory

Utah's Chad Jacobsen, left, celebrates Ameen Shaheen's touchdown.
Utah's Chad Jacobsen, left, celebrates Ameen Shaheen's touchdown.
Laura Seitz, Deseret Morning News

Utah running back Quinton Ganther dressed for the game and participated in pregame warmups, but didn't play.

Ganther, the Utes' leading rusher with 771 yards on the season, injured his left knee in practice during the bye week following his best game of the year at UNLV. He practiced little this past week, but would have been able to play in a pinch.

"Quinton was about 70 percent," Ute coach Kyle Whittingham said. "As the game flowed we had planned to use him if we got into a pinch."

After Utah opened a 20-6 halftime lead and added to that total in the second half, that pinch never happened.

Ganther, for his part, wanted to play.

"He kept letting us know that he was available," said Whittingham.

"We're going to need him the next two weeks so I think we did the right thing in holding him out," added Whittingham.

Freshman Darrell Mack started at tailback in Ganther's place. He gained 65 yards on 16 carries.

GIVING U. THE BOOT: Ute kicker Dan Beardall made all three of his field goal attempts — one from 45 yards out. He set a team record in the fourth quarter by making his 11th consecutive field goal. His is now 13 of 14 on field goals this season. But his streak of consecutive extra points was snapped.

Beardall's booted an extra point attempt off the left upright in the third quarter — his first miss in 29 attempts.

USING TIGHT ENDS: Tight ends have been seldom used by the Utes during the past two seasons in the passing game. That changed a bit on Saturday.

Chad Jacobsen, out of Springville High, grabbed his first two catches of the season on Saturday for 43 yards. He was wide open in on his second catch, picking up 34 yards.

Jacobsen wasn't the only tight end getting into the action either. Ameen Shaheen, a junior from Salina, caught a pair of passes, too, including a 1-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter.

NO BOWL LOVE: Both Utah and Wyoming entered the game with bowl hopes alive. But bowl representatives may not be so enthused about the Utes and the Cowboys. November is the time of year that bowl officials in their brightly-colored sports coats attend games to watch potential teams for their respective bowl games. Last year, when the Utes were unbeaten, several bowls attended each U. game in November.

No bowl representatives were at Saturday's contest.

There were, however, at least three NFL scouts in attendance.

Representatives were at the game from the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets.

NO TV; YES REPLAY: For the first time all season the Utes weren't on local television. In fact, the game wasn't televised at all.

Due to the Mountain West Conference's agreement with ESPN, the 1 p.m. game time slot is for the ESPN-Plus MWC game of the week — which was the BYU/UNLV game on Saturday. No MWC game can be televised to compete with the ESPN-Plus game.

Despite not being televised, the MWC's instant replay rules were still in effect. The replay officials, rather than using the broadcast television video, was forced to rely on the in-house feed shot for the scoreboard JumboTron.

Three calls were reviewed. One was overturned, when it was ruled on the field that Ute freshman Marquis Wilson was out of bounds on a 25-yard catch.

Replays, however, showed he was still inbounds when he hauled in the pass.

EXTRA POINTS: Ute QB Brian Johnson now has 193 completions on the season, moving into the No. 7 spot in single-season completions, moving past current radio color commentator Frank Dolce. Johnson is currently No. 9 on the Utah single-season passing list . . . DB Casey Evans' third-quarter interception was his fifth of the season. Evans leads the team and was ranked No. 13 in the nation . . . Attendance was listed as 39,026, but that was paying customers. There were several thousand no-shows. For the year, however, Utah has drawn an average of 42,494, which is currently the second highest in school history.


E-mail: lojo@desnews.com