Utah running back Darrell Mack joined a very elite group of athletes about as quietly as possible.
Of course, that's the way this man of few words does business.
"I don't really care about that stuff at all," said the junior of becoming the ninth Utah running back to earn 1,000 or more yards in a single season in Utah's 28-10 win Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium. "I'm just happy to get the win."
If forced to talk about his personal milestone, he admits he might appreciate it more when he's not worried about the next opponent.
"I'll be happier about it at the end of the season," said Mack, who finished with 81 yards against a New Mexico defense that was very tough to run against.
Though he only needed five yards to reach the mark, it seemed even that might not be possible his first couple of carries. Ute coaches didn't call his number until about a minute before the end of the first quarter, and he lost a yard on his first carry. Then he had two carries for a total of three yards, the second of which was a one-yard touchdown run.
His fourth carry earned him just one more yard, and it wasn't until 6:38 left in the second quarter, when he earned four yards on a carry that put him over the 1000-yard mark.
Head coach Kyle Whittingham said the team expected him to pass the mark easily, despite the fact that New Mexico's interior defense is one of the best.
"It wasn't by design," he said of not using Mack until just before the second quarter. "We knew the inside run game would be tough ... But we just assumed that it would happen."
Whittingham said it was accomplishment for several guys on the squad.
"Good for Darrell," he said. "It also goes back to the offensive line. They have as much to do with it as anything."
Mack also got a congratulatory handshake from the only Ute who's earned more than 1000 yards in a season twice Eddie Johnson. Still an avid Utah supporter, he happened to be on the sideline when Mack passed the milestone and confirmed that, as a player, it's not an accomplishment that one appreciates until much later.
"You're just thinking about helping your team," said Johnson, who did it in 1984 and 1986. "I never really thought about it much until I got older. That's when you realize it's a pretty big accomplishment."
Johnson has a couple of suggestions for running backs hoping to not only earn the milestone but win football games."You always want to thank your offensive line," he said with a grin. "Buy them a turkey or something. But also, every single play, run like it's your last chance; run with some conviction; run like a mad man."
Utah 1,000-yard rushers
Name (year) ... Yards
Carl Monroe (1982) ... 1,507
Dameon Hunter (2001) ... 1.396
Mike Anderson (1998) ... 1,173
Del Rodgers (1981) ... 1,127
Quinton Ganther (2005) ... 1,120
Keith Williams (1991) ... 1,076
Darrell Mack (2007) ... 1,072
Eddie Johnson (1984) ... 1,046
Eddie Johnson (1986) ... 1,021
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