SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Zack Moss ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns, breaking two more school rushing records as No. 12 Utah routed California 35-0 on Saturday night.
After becoming Utah’s career leader in yards rushing last week, Moss increased his total to 33 touchdowns on the ground and surpassed Del Rodgers, who set the previous mark of 31 from 1978-81. Moss also reached 100 yards rushing for the 15th time, breaking the school record he had shared with Devontae Booker and John White IV.
Moss also finished with 89 yards on three receptions.
“It all feels really good, especially when you are winning and in the fashion that it came in tonight,” Moss said. “I’m just grateful everything went well and everyone came out injury free, so it was a good night.”
California’s defense had held 14 consecutive opponents under 25 points, the longest active streak in the country.
It took Utah (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) just a half to snap that streak, even with a hobbled quarterback. The Utes rolled to 351 yards and 28 points in the first half while allowing just 33 yards for the Bears (4-4, 1-4 Pac-12).
Tyler Huntley threw for 214 yards and a touchdown on 11-for-17 passing before sitting out the second half and resting his injured lower left leg.
“He was pretty dicey all week long, he didn’t practice much early in the week,” head coach Kyle Whittingham said. “As the week progressed, he practiced a little more, but you can see he still wasn’t 100-percent. But he wanted to go, and I thought he did a great job of scheming things to help him with his lack of his mobility to take some of the ‘need to move around’ off of him.”
As the Bears’ defensive reputation crumbled, the Utes just added to their impressive run of suffocating performances.
Utah has allowed only 10 points in the last 14 quarters, and the lone touchdown was a last-minute score in the 52-7 win over Oregon State two weeks ago.
Utah allowed just 83 total yards and six first downs, recording their first Pac-12 shutout since joining the conference in 2011.
“They’ve been performing well, and they just get ready for the next opponent and a new challenge every week,” Whittingham said. “Nobody cares about what you’ve done in the past, it’s all about what you’re doing now. You’re only as good as your last performance. That’s the right attitude to have.”
“It means a lot,” said defensive tackle Leki Fotu about the shutout. “All the hard work that we have put in during the offseason, throughout this week paid off and everybody was locked in during the game.”
“Coach Scalley is a very smart man, so I think he knows exactly what’s coming before it comes and he puts us in the right position,” added defensive back Terrell Burgess. “We need to give credit to him and just credit to everybody working hard throughout the week.”
The Bears have lost four in a row after starting 4-0 and reaching No. 15 in The Associated Press poll.
In his first start, freshman quarterback Spencer Brasch was under constant harassment and completed seven of 19 passes for 47 yards. Regular starter Chase Garbers and backup Devon Modster were both injured.
Jason Shelley hit Brant Kuithe on a 1-yard pass and scored on a 1-yard run to give Utah a 28-0 lead at halftime.
After a first-possession punt, it took a broken play to get the Utah offense loose on its next drive — the first of five consecutive touchdowns. Huntley dropped an early shotgun snap but picked up the ball and wheeled around on his sore left leg to find Moss wide open. The running back took the pass 69 yards before Jaylinn Hawkins pushed him out of bounds at the 6-yard line. Moss took it in two plays later for his 32nd career rushing touchdown.
On Utah’s second straight drive of more than 90 yards, Huntley lofted a 40-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Thompson, who had raced behind the defense and caught the ball in stride.
The Utes stay tied atop the Pac-12 South with USC, and face a tough challenge at Washington next Saturday.
“Yeah, big challenge,” Whittingham said about the Huskies. “They are a good football team. I know they dropped some games this year, but they’ve got talent. They have a big, strong quarterback that’s got a big arm. Tremendous receivers, running back, lines are solid and they’re the Huskies and they’ve got as good of talent as anybody in the league for certain. I think we’ve only won once there since we’ve been in the Pac-12, so we got our work cut out for us.”