The Deseret News publishes its premier sports content over the weekend, but those who don't subscribe to the newspaper usually miss out on some of the Deseret News' best work.
From the Super Bowl to a bevy of college basketball games, there was plenty of action on the docket this weekend.
On Sunday, Feb. 3, the Baltimore Ravens and five NFL players with Utah ties were victorious in Super Bowl XLVII.
Starting Friday and continuing the next day, high schools from around the state of Utah converged on UVU to compete in the state drill team championships.
On Saturday, the Cougars, Utes and Aggies all were victorious on the hardwoods, while the Jazz dropped the second game of back-to-back contests with Portland.
BYU kept itself clearly on the NCAA Tournament bubble with a home win over Santa Clara, while Utah and Utah State picked up some much-needed confidence- building wins over Colorado and Seattle, respectively.
One day after beating the Trail Blazers in EnergySolutions Arena, the Jazz stayed close but couldn't complete the sweep and lost in Portland on Saturday.
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Editor's note: In the battle for the Lombardi Trophy, consider the state of Utah the winner. Of the seven players in Super Bowl XLVII with Utah ties, five either came from or played college football in Utah. Brandon Gurney took a close look at all seven players.
Dennis Pitta — Baltimore Ravens (BYU): The former Cougar tight end had four receptions for 26 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown reception midway through the second quarter that gave the Ravens a 14-3 lead.
Paul Kruger — Baltimore Ravens (Utah/Timpanogos High): Kruger was used primarily in passing situations and contributed three tackles and one tackle-for-loss. He also had two sacks, including one during a third and goal situation that forced the 49ers to settle for a field goal in the first half.
Haloti Ngata — Baltimore Ravens (Highland High): Ngata had just two tackles and was forced to leave the game early in the third quarter with a sprained knee.
Up next: You think you had a stake in the outcome of Super Bowl XLVII? The elder Dennis Pitta could not be prouder of his son.
Editor's note: Dennis Pitta's story is a familiar one to BYU fans: he arrived in Provo as a walk-on and left a star. In the NFL, he's had to fight to playing time, and on Sunday, Pitta played in his first Super Bowl. This unique experience gave Pitta's father a chance to reflect on his son's gridiron accomplishments.
Dennis Pitta Sr. once thought his namesake, son Dennis Pitta, wasn’t big enough to have a serious career beyond high school football.
He’d seen his son play soccer, play little league football and basketball and could see that he inherited some athleticism. But in high school, as a receiver and punt returner, before his son’s senior year at Moorpark High, the father just didn’t envision his son growing big enough to make an impact in college — let alone the NFL.
But today, Dennis Pitta will sit before his TV with his wife Linda in their Highland home and proudly witness their son play a critical role as a tight end for the Baltimore Ravens, who face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
Up next: Kyle Whittingham and Utah football looked to take advantage of the Utes' super bowl exposure.
Editor's note: Following a 5-7 season that saw Utah not go to a bowl game for the first time since 2002, Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham is looking for advantages he can utilize in recruiting. Sunday's Super Bowl provided one, as four former Utes were a part of Super Bowl XLVII. The quartet helps Whittingham prove that committing to Utah can aid a player in advancing to the next level.
With National Letter of Intent Day coming up Wednesday, Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham wants all the exposure his program can generate.
Would 170 million viewers be OK?
When Baltimore and San Francisco meet in Sunday's Super Bowl, the massive TV audience will get a look at what Whittingham's coaching has wrought. Four former Utes are on the bowl game rosters, as well as another guy who acts like he should have played at Utah but didn't. Only one other college team (the Miami Hurricanes) has more alumni in this year's game (five).
The marketing people at Utah couldn't have planned this better. But will they capitalize on it?
Up next: Damian Lillard is making Wildcat Nation awfully proud.
Editor's note: Well-acquainted Northwest Division rivals Utah and Portland faced off twice this weekend, with the Trail Blazers in Salt Lake City on Friday and the Jazz in Portland on Saturday. Without a doubt, Weber State alum Damian Lillard showed he is the real deal and definitely deserves to be in the discussion for Rookie of the Year.
Purple Pride was overflowing Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
And for good reason.
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, less than a year removed from his days as a Weber State star, was in town to go up against the Utah Jazz. And a large contingent of Wildcat fans, along with what sounded like several hundred more Lillard fans, got to see him put on a pretty good show.
Up next: Utah men's basketball finally gets a Pac-12 win at home.
Editor's note: Several games' worth of frustration came to an end for the Utah men's basketball team. The Utes ended a long losing streak by knocking off Colorado on Saturday. Furthermore, the Utes won the same day they honored former coach Rick Majerus by holding on after nearly squandering a 22-point second half lead.
Credit Rick Majerus with another assist.
For the second time since his passing Dec. 1, the former Utah coach provided inspiration for a victory in the Huntsman Center. This time, it was a 58-55 win for the Utes over Colorado.
“I think he was in the building for us there going down the stretch — just with enough to get us over the top,” said Utah coach Larry Krytskowiak.
Up next: BYU men's basketball stays on the bubble.
Editor's note: Round 2 went much like Round 1. Three weeks after BYU just a second-half run to blow open a close game against Santa Clara, the Cougars again pulled away in the second stanza against the Broncos. This time around, BYU shot 58 percent, led by a season-high 28 points from Matt Carlino, in blowing past Santa Clara.
Although BYU led by just one point, 47-46, at halftime in a game that featured fouls galore and points aplenty, the Cougars had the Santa Clara Broncos right where they wanted them.
In a run-and-gun shootout.
In the second half, BYU continued to put its foot on the accelerator and raced past the Broncos, 96-79, before a crowd of 17,228 at the Marriott Center on Saturday night.
Santa Clara just couldn't keep up with the Cougars' high-tempo pace.
Up next: Utah State men's basketball lands a dominant road sweep in the Pacific Northwest.
Editor's note: Going into the week, Utah State was in desperate need of a victory following four straight losses. A road trip to the Northwest provided a perfect elixir, as the Aggies notched a pair of road wins. Utah State used a balanced effort to pick up Saturday's victory over Seattle, led by 16 points from Jarred Shaw.
A little time on the road appears to be just what the doctor ordered for Utah State's basketball team. The Aggies completed a two-game road sweep by posting a 68-46 victory over Seattle at Key Arena on Saturday.
The win moves USU back into the thick of things in a tight upper half of the Western Athletic Conference. Utah State sits in fourth place at 7-4 in conference play and is behind New Mexico State and Denver, who are tied for second place at 9-2.
After a back-and-forth first few minutes Saturday, the Aggies moved ahead 11-10 on a TeNale Roland 3-point basket to start a 12-3 run that put the Aggies ahead for good. USU would eventually lead by as many as 24 points as the Ags methodically built on their 30-19 halftime advantage during the second half.
Up next: Utah's young ladies impress at the Utah high school drill team championships
Editor's note: Smiling faces and elaborate costumes were on full display over the weekend as UVU hosted the annual Utah high school drill team championships. On Friday, the 4A and 5A teams danced off for state titles. On Saturday, the 3A, 2A and 1A hit the dance floor.
Friday's drill team state championships were held at the UCCU Center in Orem, and after eight hours of competition, one team won its fifth title in a row and another won its first-ever championship. Bountiful took first place in military style while finishing second in both dance and kick as it kept the titles rolling in for the 4A powerhouse.
Copper Hills had a clean sweep, winning each category and the first-ever state championship.
"I started three years ago and we finished third," said Copper Hills coach Shannon Mortensen. "The year after that we finished second and now this year we won it all. So I don't know what we'll do for an encore next year, especially since we had a clean sweep."