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Utah Utes football: 'Middle dribble' kickoff was soggy but successful

Published: Tuesday, June 30 2015 11:33 p.m. MDT

Utah kicker Joe Phillips successfully chases down his onside kick in the second quarter of Saturday's game against Colorado State. The Utes decimated the Rams 59-6 in Salt Lake City. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Utah kicker Joe Phillips successfully chases down his onside kick in the second quarter of Saturday's game against Colorado State. The Utes decimated the Rams 59-6 in Salt Lake City. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — That last time the Utes tried a surprise onside kick, it caused all sorts of controversy because it came when the Utes were up 43-0 over Wyoming back in 2007.

When the Utes pulled an onside kick Saturday against Colorado State, they couldn't be accused of piling it on. This time, it just helped give the Utes an added boost in their 59-6 victory.

The "middle dribble," as the Utes called it, came early in the second quarter after the Utes had taken a 14-3 lead. Joe Phillips, who usually only handles field goals and PATs, kicked a slow roller that he was able to pounce on at the Utah 41-yard line before a Ram player even came near.

"It was supposed to go faster, but I guess it was weighed down from the water and went a little slower than I wanted it to," said Phillips. "I thought I was going to get hit because I was just waiting for it to get to the 40."

Nick Marsh usually kicks off, but Phillips kicked off on Utah's first kickoff, "so they wouldn't be suspicious" when he tried the onside kick, Phillips said.

"Jay Hill scouted that this week and thought it would work against them," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "It was well-executed by Joe Phillips, and our kickoff team was able to take care of their front-line guys."

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