FORT COLLINS, Colo. It's been building all season, but after Saturday's performance against Colorado State, you can officially refer to the Utah football team as the "Runnin"' Utes.
In a convincing 27-3 victory over Colorado State at Hughes Stadium, Utah pounded the ball against the Rams, piling up a season-high 322 yards on the ground with two 100-yard rushers for the first time since the 2005 win over BYU.
Darrell Mack had his sixth 100-yard game of the season with 151 yards and got some good help from Ray Stowers, who added 123 yards on 11 carries.
"We ran the football very effectively," said Ute coach Kyle Whittingham. "That was a nice little one-two punch there with Stowers and Darrell Mack. It was nice to get that production out of Ray to take some pressure off Darrell."
Stowers, a junior out of Honolulu, started the season ahead of Mack on the depth chart but fell behind his fellow running back after not playing well in an opening loss to Oregon State, when he had just 2 yards on 11 carries.
He entered the game early in the first quarter after Mack got a "shoulder nick," according to Whittingham, and promptly scored a touchdown on a 15-yard pass from Brian Johnson to give the Utes a 7-0 lead.
"It's about time," said Stowers. "The coaches always tell me to be ready, and fortunately I got that opportunity on that first series. I wanted to get in there and take advantage of it."
Stowers picked up much of his yardage in the fourth quarter after the Ute offense had stalled in the third quarter. He had peeled off a 37-yard run in the third quarter that could have been longer except for a holding penalty.
Then on the Utes' last scoring drive, he matched his earlier run with another 37-yarder down to the CSU 12-yard line. After Mack rushed to the 1, Stowers pushed in for the final yard and his second touchdown of the game and the season.
"The O-line came out there and did their thing, and we did ours and played as a team," Stowers said. "It's always a good feeling to help the team any way I can."
Mack was his usual consistent self but carried the ball only 20 times after getting 32 carries against Louisville and TCU.
"That's great to have someone else doing the same thing, moving the ball and to give me a little rest," said Mack. "It takes some of the pressure off me, and it was fun watching my fellow teammate get some yards."
Besides Mack and Stowers, the Utes got some good runs from Elijah Wesson, a sophomore who began the year as a defensive back and is listed as a wide receiver. Wesson finished with 34 yards on four carries, including a 24-yarder midway through the second quarter.In all, the Utes had eight players rush the ball, including receivers Jereme Brooks, Marquis Wilson and Derrek Richards and quarterbacks Brian Johnson and Corbin Louks.