Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News
Utah running back Darrell Mack runs between USU tacklers Caleb Taylor (35) and Joshua Taylor.

Darrell Mack had a career-high 26 carries, 20 of them in the second half, Saturday afternoon at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Utah's 34-18 win over Utah State. He had a career-high 133 yards rushing and his second touchdown of the season.

Most guys would be all aglow.

Mack, the running back from Spring Valley, Calif., was all a-shiver, even after being told that he'd set personal records.

"Oh, I didn't know. That's good, too," he said after having explained that it was good for the 2-3 Utes to have gotten a win.

His teeth were chattering so much after his baptism by Utah snow and cold Saturday that he just wanted to go take a shower instead of regale the post-game press conference with his exploits.

"Especially for me. It's like my first time actually playing in something like this," Mack said. "It's real cold. You've got to hold onto the ball tight and just keep moving.

"Whooh!" he said, shivering more despite his healthy workout and third straight strong game.

He wore short sleeves instead of long ones during the game because the coaches made him.

"Our coach, he doesn't let the running backs wear them," Mack said. "He doesn't want us to fumble again.

"I think we should wear them," he said, shaking some more.

"The ball security — the sleeves get wet," said Ute coach Kyle Whittingham about why his running backs need to wear short sleeves.

"Some of those fabrics they have nowadays get a slick surface, and you don't want the ball squirting out of there, so you'd rather have them not wear those sleeves."

Mack had only six carries by halftime as the Utes went more to their air game early. Mack gained 77 yards in the third period, including his 3-yard touchdown run with 3:41 left, and 20 more on seven fourth-quarter carries for a 97-yard second half.

"I felt like I kept running stronger," Mack said. "I didn't have no burst, really, but I think I started to see the holes more, and the game started to slow down. It was all clicking. It was all working."

He said the offensive line blew big holes for him to use, and he tried to accommodate.

"I feel comfortable," Mack said. "I've got a lot of confidence in myself and my teammates, and that's a plus right there. Whenever they need to make something happen, I'm ready at all times."

Whittingham said Mack got the ball so much in the second half because, "We thought we were wearing them down a little bit. I'm a big proponent, if you can run the ball, run the football. That's something that I believe in, being an old defensive coordinator. If you can't stop the run and people are just pounding the ball at you, that's a demoralizing thing."

Quarterback Brian Johnson agreed: "The offensive line did an excellent job creating lanes for Darrell to run through, and Darrell ran the ball violently," he said. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."


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