SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah's Shaky Smithson, who leads the nation in punt return yards with 572, has been named a first-team All-American by Scout/Foxsports.com.
Smithson set the Mountain West Conference record for punt return yards in a season while also becoming the first Ute ever to surpass 500 yards in punt returns in a season.
The senior is averaging 19.72 yards per return and his four 100-yard punt return games leads the NCAA. He also has four of the top 11 punt return yardage games in the nation this season, with 145 vs. Iowa State (2nd), 140 vs. New Mexico (3rd), 128 vs. UNLV (5th-tie) and 111 vs. Wyoming (11th), and is the only player with three 70-yard punt returns.
SALT LAKE CITY - Junior guard Jace Tavita has chosen to leave the Utah men's basketball team, head coach Jim Boylen announced Thursday.
"I want to thank Coach Boylen for giving me every opportunity to be successful in my three years here," said Tavita. "But I feel at this time it would be in my best interest to move on to another school where I might have a chance for more playing time."
"Jace approached me this week and informed me that he wanted to leave the program based on his playing time," said Boylen. "I sincerely appreciate Jace's efforts over the last three years. He has worked hard and represented his family and this program well. We wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors."
SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah football team has officially accepted an invitation to play in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22 at Sam Boyd Stadium against an opponent to be determined.
"We're excited about the opportunity to be going back to Las Vegas. It's been quite awhile since we've been there," said Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham. "The players are excited and the players are looking forward to it, and we think it's a good situation for us."
The Utes (10-2) last played in the Las Vegas bowl in 2001, when they defeated the University of Southern California. Utah has the longest active winning streak in bowl games with nine straight victories.
SALT LAKE CITY -- No. 20 Utah (10-2, 7-1 MWC) will begin gearing up for its eighth-straight bowl game this week while awaiting word on its bowl destination. The Mountain West Conference runner-up Utes are 12-3 all-time in bowl games.
The Maaco Las Vegas Bowl expressed interest in inviting Notre Dame, but with the Irish's success towards the end of the season, it appears that they are now a lock for the Champ Sports Bowl in Orlando.
Brian Blechen and Brandon Burton (Utah), Ryan Lindley (San Diego State) and Marcus Sullivan (UNLV) are the Mountain West Conference Players of the Week for games through Nov. 27. Lindley earns the Offensive Player of the Week award, while Blechen claims the Defensive Player honor and Burton and Sullivan share Special Teams recognition. This marks the third career player of the week honor for Blechen and Lindley, and the first weekly honor for Burton and Sullivan.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
BRIAN BLECHEN, UTAH
Freshman, Defensive Back, Moorpark, Calif./Moorpark HS
Brian Blechen registered seven tackles (three solo), one sacks (-15 yards), an interception and a pass breakup to lead Utah to a 17-16 victory over in-state rival BYU. A product of Moorpark, Calif., Blechen began the contest by notching an interception at the Utah 25-yard line late in the first quarter to halt a BYU drive. Early in the second quarter, Blechen recorded a 15-yard sack, a pass breakup and a solo tackle all on the same drive, helping to force a BYU punt. Blechen and the Utah defense also limited the Cougars to 65 rushing yards on the day.
Score: (20) Utah 17, BYU 16
Brandon Burton blocks Mitch Payne's game winning 42 yard field goal attempt and the Utes have defeated BYU 17-16 in yet another classic in the 92nd edition of the Holy War.
Utah was outplayed by BYU for the first three quarters, but the Utes never gave up and battled back from a 13-0 deficit to take the lead 17-16 with just over 4 minutes left in the game.
A Tale of Two Seasons.
A win in overtime vs. Pitt. A blowout of UNLV. A smack down of the Lobos. A laugher against San Jose State. A run-up of the Cyclones. A win for the last time in Laramie. Colorado State came to town, enough said. Survived in Colorado Springs.
Utah at one point was 8-0, then came the TCU game, and the Notre Dame game. The San Diego State game was a tale of two seasons in itself.
SALT LAKE CITY - Utah kicker Joe Phillips found himself handling punting, kickoff and placekicking duties last Saturday as Utah recorded a 38-34 victory at San Diego State.
Phillips, a senior from Salt Lake City, connected on a 32-yard field goal as well as converting all five of his point-after attempts.
Making his debut at punter, Phillips placed his first collegiate punt attempt at the San Diego State two-yard line. For the night, he averaged 35.0 yards per punt, while booting four of his five attempts inside the 20-yard line. The only punt returned by the Aztecs resulted in no gain.
Score: (23) Utah 38, San Diego State 34
Usually when you give up 528 passing yards it doesn't bode well on the scoreboard, especially for a team that had just lost their previous two games. For the Utes, they were able to produce enough offense of their own to defeat San Diego State 38-34 in an offensive shootout.
The date - October 30, 2010. Utah just intercepted an Air Force pass with an 18 point lead in the fourth quarter. It appeared as if the Utes were going to pull away from the Falcons and break a stretch of nail- biters with their conference rivals.
Facing a fourth and two from the Air Force 35 yard line, the Utes tried a short pass to running back Matt Asiata. Jordan Wynn's pass fell to the turf, and just as if a magician said "shazam", the Utah offense disappeared.
Not only did they disappear for the rest of the game against the Falcons, they played hide and go seek against TCU, hiding for more than three quarters. They didn't cross midfield until the fourth quarter when they were finally able to get into the endzone.
SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah men's basketball team (1-0) will look to win its second straight home contest to open the 2010-11 season Wednesday as it hosts Montana (0-1). Tip-off at the Jon M. Huntsman Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Utah is coming off a 26-point victory in its season-opener against Grand Canyon, 72-48. The Runnin' Utes saw four players score in double figures, led by game highs of 14 points and eight rebounds from junior wing Will Clyburn, in his first game in a Utah uniform. Other Utes scoring in double digits were sophomore center Jason Washburn with 12 points and junior guard Josh Watkins and sophomore guard Chris Hines, each with 11.
Sophomore wing Shawn Glover and freshman guard J.J. O'Brien each tied Clyburn's game-high eight rebounds. Watkins had a game-high six assists in his Ute debut. Utah finished with 16 helpers while turning it over just eight times, a 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Score: Notre Dame 28, (14) Utah 3
Putting out a missing team report - has anyone seen the Utah offense? Anyone? Since the fourth quarter against Air Force, Utah has been outscored 88-10. Notre Dame rolled all over the Utes, scoring 28 unanswered points in a 28-3 rout on Senior Day.
Utah had 10 penalties for 65 yards in the first half, and couldn't catch a break in the second. Three potential pass interferences went uncalled as the Utes lose for the second week in a row.
Two days into our Notre Dame sojourn and this magical, mystical, spiritual experience is everything that this iconis and legendary tour should be. The weather's spectacular (sunny, upper 60's) the excitement's building and the world famous sites on this pristine campus are even more brilliant in the warm sunshine.
We toured each of the famous spots on campus with the school's historian\spokesman Dennis Brown. Started beneath the Golden Dome, then on to the Grotto (where visitors can reflect in quiet solitude and light candles in prayer) past not-to-famous statues "Fair Catch Corby" (Union Army's chaplain who prayed with troops before Gettysburg) and "Number 1 Moses" so dubbed because he's raising 1 very prominent forefinger. Then we wrapped up this private, golf-cart tour at the base of "Touchdown Jesus" (actually entitled "Word of Life). This will be one of the features we run on "SportsBeat South Bend" the Utah\Notre Dame pregame show right before kickoff on KSL 5/NBC at noon Saturday.
I have heard that South Bend is a neat place full of history and College Football Pageantry, but it is beyond that.
Tom Kirkland, Marc Weaver and I left Salt Lake City early this morning and got into Chicago, drove to South Bend, and there it was. The Golden Dome! We saw it from the toll road and the excitement was overwhelming. The Notre Dame campus is beautiful. The grounds are neat and clean, the buildings are historic, and then there was "Touchdown Jesus." I must have stared at that mural for 15 minutes without blinking.
Notre Dame Stadium is special. The Knute Rockne statue, Lou Holtz has a statue there too, and the tunnel was epic. We snapped some pictures and then went to the Notre Dame football offices to hear Head Coach Brian Kelly hold a press conference. He was energetic and gave thoughtful answers. The football offices were amazing. Notre Dame's seven Heisman Trophies were just inside the door to the left, the National Championship Crystal football was just as you walked in, and the statue of the "Four Horseman" was to the right.
SALT LAKE CITY — It isn't exactly a "do-over," but it does come close ... sort of, maybe, perhaps.
A week after a poor performance in the national spotlight, the 15th-ranked Utah Utes get another chance to show the country what they can do.
Saturday's game at Notre Dame will be broadcast on NBC.
Score: (3) TCU 47, (5) Utah 7
SALT LAKE CITY -- In what was billed to be the biggest game ever in Mountain West Conference history, the Utah Utes decided to take an early vacation. Wearing all black camo jerseys, the Utes were "blacked out" by an aggressive TCU defense that didn't let them cross midfield until 12 minutes left in the game.
TCU dominated in all three phases, piling up 558 total yards while holding the Utes to just 199. TCU converted 11 of 15 3rd downs while holding the Utes to just 3 of 13. And the Horned Frogs snapped Utah's 21 game MWC record home winning streak (TCU currently has 19).
#5 Utah vs. #3 TCU
Here we go again. The game between these two teams becomes harder and harder to preview. This is what every college football team should dream of. This is a game with more riding on it than ever. It is hard to say that because in 2004, when the Utes were the first team to bust into the BCS by beating BYU, that was pretty big. This game has possible National Championship implications though. Nationally it is recognized as the game of the week, but for fans of the Utes, this could be a shot at football immortality!
It is interesting how some national media won't recognize these two teams (and Boise State). Mark May and Craig James of ESPN continue to be extremely critical of both teams because of their body of work. May said that in his opinion, none of the three non-AQ teams belongs in the conversation. That is hard to believe. Utah, TCU, and Boise State continue to demolish many of their opponents week after week.
WALNUT CREEK, Calif.--The Pac-10 Conference office released the 2011 football schedule today and Utah's first game as a Pac-12 member will be at USC on Sept. 10. It is Utah's first visit to the Coliseum since 1948. Utah's first Pac-12 home opponent is Washington--a team that has never played the Utes in Salt Lake City--on Oct. 1.
The Utes will compete in the Pac-12 Southern division, meaning they will meet Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA and USC every year, and four teams from the Northern division on a two-year home-and-away cycle. Utah's 2011 and 2012 Northern division opponents will be California, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State.
SALT LAKE CITY--Overnight camping will be permitted outside Rice-Eccles Stadium and in surrounding parking lots on campus prior to Saturday's ESPN College GameDay. Rice-Eccles Stadium camping is permitted only by the southwest corner ticket office and stretching up 500 South, beginning at 8 a.m. Friday.
Fans with Crimson Club tailgate passes may begin parking in the Guardsman Way lot at 3 p.m. Friday. Fans with the proper parking pass who choose to camp in other lots around campus may begin setting up after 5 p.m. Friday.
All camping gear along 500 South by the ticket office must be packed up and removed by 5 a.m. Saturday. Entry to the "pit" area for ESPN GameDay will begin at 5:30 a.m. with the line forming outside the ticket office. All parking lots on campus will open at 6 a.m.
SALT LAKE CITY — Under Armour and the Utah Utes are teaming up to support the Wounded Warrior Project in Saturday's game against TCU at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
The Utes will sport black uniforms with camouflage trim and numbers, along with matching footwear, to help raise awareness and funds for the non-profit organization that honors and empowers U.S. Armed Forces personnel who have been seriously wounded in combat.
The jerseys, which have core values like "honor," "integrity," "country," "service" and "duty" on the back instead of last names, will be auctioned off online Monday at www.utahutes.com.
VIDEO: Crimson Corner 5-19
This week in the Crimson Corner Eric Weddle discusses his book "No Excuses, No Regrets, The Eric Weddle Story" and Jeremiah Jensen profiles Utes running back Karl Williams and his road to a scholarship. Also, the Utah football youth camps are approaching.
The station representative who can assist a person with disabilities with issues related to the content of the public files is Mike Dowdle, available during regular office hours at email@example.com and (801) 575-5555.