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SALT LAKE CITY — Taking on the Cal Bears at home in the annual blackout game, the University of Utah was looking to snap a four-game losing streak. The Utes fought hard to get their first Pac-12 win of the season and an end to their losing streak, beating the Bears 49-27 in an all-around good performance by the Utes.
Reggie Dunn has to be the Pac-12 special teams player of the week. Dunn set the tone early for the game with his first 100-yard touchdown return. His second 100-yard touchdown return in the fourth quarter only added to the Utah blowout. Dunn's two 100-yard touchdowns in one game were the first time in Utah history a player accomplished such a feat.
It's not a surprise that Dunn is an explosive player and a threat wherever he he utilized; however, it couldn't have come at a better time for Utah. Struggling to get points on the board all season, Dunn's two touchdowns helped set the tone for how the defense and offense played throughout the game.
Freshmen quarterback Travis Wilson is making some good progress. There are still moments where Wilson's inexperience is shown, but the future is bright for Utah football with Wilson under center. Wilson has the vision and arm to get the offense moving. Not only can he make the throw, but he leads his receiver with his pass — something both Jordan Wynn and Jon Hays struggled to do at times.
Wilson did have one interception, but ended the game going 16-of-24 for 154 yards. Wilson also rushed for nine yards and scored a touchdown. Utah fans should be optimistic about this young quarterback; Kyle Whittingham made the right decision to go with Wilson when he did. Wilson should only get better as the season progresses and has a full offseason to be the starting quarterback.
The once go-to receiver DeVonte Christopher was absent from Saturday's game (not because of an injury). Instead, the Utes decided to go with Kenneth Scott. And while the stat box will not indicate his impact in the game (five receptions for 59 yards), Scott appears to be Wilson's receiver of choice, and for good reason. Scott has consistently proven his ability this season, and it's only deserving he get the majority of catches.
Also, junior college transfer Kelvin York has proven his abilities. Early in the season York struggled to get things going, but has since proven his toughness and ability to make plays. York is a viable threat as running back and deserves to at least split touches with John White.
I was pretty harsh on offensive coordinator Brian Johnson last week; however, I believe his play calling Saturday was much improved. Johnson utilized his impact players and benched players that have been less-than effective this year. Additionally, Johnson kept the momentum moving by giving the ball to players that were getting things done. Instead of letting Wilson run the ball when York or White was moving the ball, he stuck with them, and the result was in the offensive scores.
Just like with Wilson, it will take time to see who Johnson is as an offensive coordinator. It has likely not been easy going through three quarterbacks in one season and utilizing players that weren't preseason starters. Overall, Johnson has done well and should receive credit for what he does.
The Utes are keeping their season alive and still have a chance to make it to a bowl game. The odds are still stacked against them, but with similar performances like Saturday night, Utah may have a shot. It's hard to project Utah's momentum given how bad Cal is, but it was the first time since Utah beat BYU 54-10 last season that Utah put up more than 40 points against a team.
Utah will face Washington State next week before taking on Washington, Arizona and Colorado in the coming weeks. Utah needs to win at least three of their last four games to be bowl eligible.