I would just rather reflect on that when the season’s over and then look back and talk about what he accomplished. But I’m proud of him. – Aaron Roderick
SALT LAKE CITY — Travis Wilson made history last week with his 34th career start at quarterback for the Utah Utes. The senior moved past Brian Johnson for sole possession of the school record.
“I didn’t know about that record,” Wilson said after Saturday’s 27-12 win over Oregon State. “But it’s definitely a good accomplishment.”
It’s a feat, however, that kind of snuck up on folks.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham acknowledged that he didn’t know about it. Even so, he said it’s great.
“Travis has been a big part of what we’re doing for a lot of years and it speaks to his toughness and resiliency to be available for that many starts,” Whittingham continued. “Quarterbacks, this day and age, take a pounding and so he’s a tough guy and that’s something to be proud of in my opinion.”
Wilson’s record was also news to co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick. He noted that Wilson was thrown into the fire early in his career and endured some rough times — at a young age with not a great team around him.
“That was tough. But he’s doing a good job now and I’m happy for him,” said Roderick, who opted to save additional praise for another day. “I would just rather reflect on that when the season’s over and then look back and talk about what he accomplished. But I’m proud of him.”
Wilson’s durability has him closing in on several school records. He enters Saturday’s game at Washington in a second-place tie with Alex Smith for career victories with 21.
Senior wide receiver Kenneth Scott considers that a bigger deal than the record for starts.
“That probably holds more than anything. Because if you think about it, he’s going against Pac-12 people,” Scott said. “All the other guys were going against Mountain West and WAC conferences.”
Scott noted that Smith and Johnson are legendary figures in the program.
“What would that say for Travis? Will he be a legend playing tougher competition?”
That’s the kind of stuff, Scott explained, that he wants for Wilson. Scott confidently added that Wilson will move up the list for wins after the Utes defeat Washington this weekend.
Wilson is taking his climb up the career charts in stride.
“It’s definitely a great accomplishment. It’s crazy. I’ve been here for four years now and it seems like time has flown by,” he said. “But I’m really happy with where I’m at right now and where this team’s at. I’m just happy I’m able to keep on playing and am staying healthy.”
Although Wilson doesn’t speak with Johnson as often as he used to now that the former Utah quarterback and coach works at Mississippi State, the new record-holder for career starts may do a little good-natured trash talking about it.
“I’m sure I can give him a little something about it,” Wilson said.
Wilson’s focus, though, is on the task at hand. He made that clear while heading to the locker room after last week’s 27-12 win over Oregon State. The victory — a bounce back from a loss at USC seven days earlier — upped Utah’s record to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in Pac-12 play.
“It was great to get a win. It was great for this team to get back on track. Our team played real hard,” said Wilson, who was a bit disappointed that the offense didn’t put more points on the board. “But I think we battled throughout the entire game. So I’m really happy with that.”
Besides his number of starts and wins as Utah’s starting quarterback, Wilson is tied for second (with Johnson) in total touchdowns (69), ranks third in pass completions (582), pass attempts (944), touchdown passes (51) and total offense (7,769 yards). He’s fourth in yards (6,740).