Utah Utes football notebook: Utes score on fumble recovery for fourth time
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — For the fourth time this season, the Utah Utes returned a fumble for a touchdown.
The latest addition came with 2:13 remaining in the first quarter of Saturday’s game against California. That’s when Utah’s Reggie Topps scored on a 17-yard return. Teammate Jason Whittingham forced the fumble when he hit Cal receiver Chris Harper, who had just made a 2-yard catch.
Utah entered the game leading the nation with 13 forced fumbles and was tied with SMU for the No. 1 spot in fumble returns for touchdowns this season. The Utes’ three other recoveries for TDs were scored by Moe Lee (47 yards vs. BYU), Nate Fakahafua (8 yards vs. USC) and Ryan Lacy (0 yards vs. UCLA).
The defense also has an interception return for a touchdown in 2012. Defensive end Joe Kruger took one back 24 yards to score in the season-opening victory over Northern Colorado.
TRADING PLACES: The Utes switched things up a bit as far as game-day coaching locations are concerned. Offensive coordinator Brian Johnson called plays from the field instead of the press box Saturday, while passing coordinator Aaron Roderick moved upstairs for the game.
DUNN IT AGAIN: Utah senior Reggie Dunn’s 100-yard kickoff return in the first quarter was the second of his career with the Utes. Dunn also accomplished the feat in a win at Iowa State in 2010.
VARSITY CLUB REUNION: Approximately 400 former Utah student-athletes attended the eighth-annual Varsity Club reunion, which consisted of a tailgate party and some pregame introductions.
Utah athletic director Chris Hill credits assistant athletic director Manny Hendrix for doing a fabulous job of staying in contact with them.
Hill said the gathering is all about letting the former athletes know that the U. cares about them. He added that it’s a “feel-good” event.
“It’s a chance for people to come back and see what’s going on and it's fun for me,” Hill said.
EXTRA POINTS: Former Utes Paul Kruger (Baltimore Ravens), Brice McCain (Houston Texans) and Zane Taylor were on the Utah sideline. ... The New England Patriots were the only NFL team with a credentialed scout at the game. ... Cal offensive graduate assistant Matt Wiegand worked at Utah in 2009 and 2010.
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