SALT LAKE CITY — Junior safety Chase Hansen made the most of what will likely be his one and only college football game in Utah County. He made a team-high eight tackles in Saturday’s 19-13 victory at BYU.
Hansen is a graduate of Lone Peak High School in Highland, where he helped the Knights win a pair of state basketball championships and a football title.
“I didn’t really know what to expect because I’ve been in the crowd for a lot of those games when I was younger. I’ve been to a lot of BYU games,” Hansen said. “But being on the field and being on the opposite side and knowing a lot of people that were there, it was a weird feeling at the beginning. And then it was just fun from then on out.”
Hansen, who led the Utes with 90 tackles last season, has 14 after two games this year — tops on the squad entering this Saturday’s game at home against San Jose State.
T.C.B.: Before making his first trip to LaVell Edwards Stadium in four years, Utah’s Kyle Whittingham noted that he had more special memories as a player rather than a coach at the venue.
“Playing makes the biggest impact on you — at least on me — and I can’t believe it’s been what 40, 35 years. It’s been a long time,” said Whittingham, who played for the Cougars from 1978-81. “That’s just mind-boggling when I think about it, because in a way it seems like it was just yesterday when I was down there with Jim McMahon and (Danny) Plater and all the boys. We had a good time.”
Things have changed so much since then, Whittingham continued, that last Saturday’s visit as a coach was more like a business trip.
WREAKING HAVOC: Utah’s defense upped its “havoc” plays, specifically sacks and takeaways, by 300 percent from game one to game two. The Utes netted three interceptions and three sacks in the win at BYU.
“It just showed that our study all week that we put in just paid off,” said freshman cornerback Jaylon Johnson, who had one of the picks. “We knew what we were doing and what they were trying to do to us. So it just paid off to see the results.”
EXTRA POINTS: Utah will recognize former basketball stars Andre Miller and Michael Doleac, who led the Utes to 114 wins and an appearance in the 1998 NCAA championship game during their careers, on Saturday. The women’s soccer team will also be recognized. The Utes reached the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time last season. Officials are expecting a 46th consecutive sellout at Rice-Eccles Stadium.