It took the University of Utah all of one offensive drive on Friday night at Stanford to establish that the chaos sometimes associated with night kickoffs in the Pac-12 was not going to apply.
Nine plays, 65 yards, 4:03. The Utes did anything they wanted, mostly on the ground, while the Cardinal offered no resistance. That is how the first drive of the night went, but that was also the totality of the evening. Utah was the better team, it wasn’t particularly close, and the 52-7 final score was a modicum of what the Utes accomplished.
The offensive line, colloquially referred to as ‘o-block,’ found a different gear against Stanford.
From left to right, Bam Olaseni, Nick Ford, Paul Maile, Sataoa Laumea, and Braeden Daniels were dominant up front for four quarters. Just push, after push, after push, and when it was over, the Utes had a whopping 18 runs of at least 10 yards, including Pledger’s 96-yard score and a 58-yard touchdown run from Thomas early in the second quarter. Furthermore, Rising has not been sacked in a month, partially because he is mobile and can get outside the pocket and run, but also because the offensive line has been stout.
This offensive line paved the way for 260 rushing yards against UCLA, and 441 vs. Stanford, the fourth-most rushing yards in a single game in program history.
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