Utah football: Dunn's two 100-yard kickoff returns truly something special

Published: Monday, Oct. 29 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

Utah Utes wide receiver Reggie Dunn (14) celebrates his kickoff return touchdown against Cal in Salt Lake City Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Reggie Dunn had quite a game Saturday. The senior had two 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns in Utah's 49-27 victory over California, making him an obvious choice for Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week recognition.

"Reggie Dunn obviously provided a big spark," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "It seems that when Cal would start to get a little something going, he came out twice and took the kickoff back for a touchdown which really reversed the momentum and put it back in our favor both times."

Dunn's touchdowns came in the first and fourth quarters, respectively. Each provided immediate responses to scores by the Bears. The first erased a 3-0 deficit and the second followed a Cal touchdown.

By game's end, Dunn broke the NCAA record for average yards per kickoff returns with 74.0. His two touchdown returns tied the national mark and set a new school record. Dunn's 222 yards on kickoff returns was also a Utah best.

Senior cornerback Ryan Lacy, who shares the title of fastest player on the team with Dunn (4.32 speed in the 40), acknowledged that the two 100-yard returns put a damper on the game for Cal and brought momentum to the defense.

"With his kickoff returns and breaking records, man, I'm happy for him and he deserves what he got," Lacy said before joking about the distance Dunn covered on each score. "The last time I ran 100 yards was probably in high school — in track and field."

Dunn, a 5-foot-10, 172-pound wide receiver out of Compton, Calif., admits the first return was tiring. He was still trying to get warmed up on the sidelines when Cal kicked a field goal just two minutes into the game.

"It felt like I was going to be exhausted the whole game," Dunn said after his first 100-yard return.

After taking some deep breaths and gathering himself, however, Dunn was back to normal. He said he was fine on the second one because he had already been running around.

Things, however, were a little different. Once he hit the open field, it dawned on Dunn that he could score twice in the same game.

"It was a pretty unbelievable feeling for me," he said.

Dunn credits his teammates for flying around and making plays all the way down the field — calling it "an all-out team effort."

And a memorable one at that.

Even so, it isn't the first time Dunn had two returns for touchdowns in a game. He did it in Pop Warner ball and again as a high school sophomore. Those returns, though, involved a kickoff and a punt.

Although Saturday's successes were extra special, Dunn expressed confidence that it could happen again.

"I feel like I'm capable of making plays like that any game," he said.

Dunn is now Utah's career leader in kickoff returns for touchdowns with three. He also took one back 100 yards against Iowa State in 2010.

Utes on the air

Washington St. (2-6, 0-5) at Utah (3-5, 1-4)

Saturday, 1 p.m.

Rice-Eccles Stadium

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Radio: 700 AM

Email: dirk@desnews.com, Twitter: DirkFacer

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