Utah pistol-whips Alabama in Sugar Bowl

Brian JohnsonIn one of the more dominating performances of the bowl season, the undefeated (and still undefeated) Utah Utes flat out ran over Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide 31-17 in Friday night’s Sugar Bowl.

I’ll always be the first one to admit when I was wrong and I was dead wrong when I previewed this game in my BCS Bowl Preview.

I thought Alabama would control both lines of scrimmage and wear down Utah over four quarters. Wrong. I said that Saban would shove Glen Coffee down the Utes’ throats for four quarters and that Utah would eventually cave in the second half. Wrong. I said that the Tide’s defense would shut down an explosive Utah offense, but one that hadn’t seen a decent defense outside of TCU’s in the regular season. Wrong.

What happened was that Utah was flat out the better team and they showed it Friday night. They played with more passion, more fight and more determination than any team this bowl season and they proved that they not only belong in the top 10, but they belong playing for a national title.

Utah’s game plan was executed brilliantly. Alabama had one of the best defensive lines in college football this season, but Utah quarterback Brian Johnson neutralized the Tide’s front seven by getting rid of the ball in a timely manner every time he dropped back. The result was a 336-yard, three touchdown performance and more importantly, Johnson didn’t throw any interceptions.

Then in the fourth quarter up by 10, it was Utah who wore down the Tide – not the other way around. Instead of Coffee being shoved down the Utes’ throats, it was Matt Asiata being shoved down ‘Bama’s throats as he picked up important first downs late in the fourth quarter. And Utah wasn’t doing anything unique; Asiata just lined up at quarterback, took a direct snap and rushed right up field. ‘Bama knew it was coming, but they couldn’t do anything about it.

This was by far the most impressive win of the bowl season and I tip my hat to the Utes. They were far and away a better team than I gave them credit for in my bowl preview and they were fun to watch. Too bad college football isn’t smart enough to have a playoff system so we could really see what Utah can do.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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