For a guy who played on just 10 of Utah's 64 offensive snaps Saturday, Corbin Louks certainly made his presence known in Utah's 49-16 victory.
The "Louks package," which has been a part of Utah's offense for the past two seasons, had its biggest impact yet as the sophomore quarterback ran for a game-high 109 yards with two touchdowns and completed a 37-yard pass to set up another touchdown.
"He was very effective today," said Ute coach Kyle Whittingham. "Coach (Andy) Ludwig had a nice package for him today and he executed very well. ... You got a taste of his speed when he ran down the sideline on that touchdown."
It wasn't like starting quarterback Brian Johnson didn't play well. Johnson had one of his smoothest outings of the year, completing 18-of-26 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns with a one interception when his arm was hit.
However, nearly every time Louks entered the game, something positive happened for the Utes.
After handing off once to Matt Asiata and running for a 13-yard gain himself, Louks made a rare long throw from the Rams' 40-yard line. The ball appeared to be underthrown a bit, but Ute receiver David Reed leaped and snatched the ball away from CSU's Nick Oppenneer at the 3-yard line. Two plays later, Utah scored to make it 21-10.
With the Utes up 28-16 late in the third quarter, Louks picked up a first down with an 8-yard run around right end. Three plays later, he re-entered the game and went left for a change, cut upfield and went untouched 21 yards for a touchdown.
Then early in the fourth quarter, Louks got loose around the right end, sprinted up the sideline, then ran nearly the width of the field and scored near the left sideline to complete a 69-yard TD run.
"It was a great feeling," Louks said. "It all started with the linemen up front. We had some great blocks down the sideline. I got a nice cutback on the defenders in pursuit and scored."
Besides Louks and Johnson, Asiata spent some time at quarterback. He took a direct snap on a pair of 3-yard touchdown runs on identical plays where Brent Casteel and Darrell Mack crossed in the backfield in front of him and, after a hesitation, Asiata ran up the middle for the score.3 comments on this story
"We feel it really mixes things up," Louks said. "We've got Matt who is 230 pounds and is a bruiser. I've got the speed and Brian can do it all. We're really making it hard for defenses to prepare for us because we can do so much."
Louks knows the offense has been criticized for its inconsistency this year, but feels they turned the corner Saturday.
"We're capable of doing (that) every week," he said. "We've finally started to hit on all cylinders, and I think you can expect to see this week-in and week-out."
Despite his excellent game, Louks has no illusions about taking over for Johnson."I just do what the coaches ask me to do," he said. "I have a package of plays each week and I'm willing to do whatever to help out the team. We just want to get the wins."