Utah
Air Force
30 - 23 Final
  for this game

Late touchdown run from Mack keeps Utah undefeated

Sep 21, 2008 - 2:47 AM COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Ticker) -- Darrell Mack's first two touchdowns of the day weren't enough to keep Utah on top. He made sure his third one stuck.

Mack's 9-yard TD plunge with 58 seconds remaining lifted No. 20 Utah to a 30-23 victory over Mountain West Conference rival Air Force on Saturday.

"It was a tough one," Mack said of Utah's win. "But it was the best one we've had so far."

A senior tailback who suffered through a litany of injury problems during his first two seasons before finally establishing himself as a top-flight runner last year, Mack had one of his best collegiate performances on Saturday.

It wasn't just Mack's 101 yards or his three touchdowns - it was how he continuously came through with clutch runs and big plays when Utah (4-0, 2-0 MWC) needed it most.

"Anytime we play these guys it seems to come down to the very end, the very last drive," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said. "It was no different this afternoon."

None of Mack's yards were bigger than his final nine, of course. The Falcons had tied the game four minutes earlier on Savier Stephens' 1-yard touchdown dive to make it 23-23. But Utah's offense - namely Mack - was too much for the Air Force defense with the game on the line.

"When they called my number, I was ready," Mack said. "I just ran; that's what I do."

He racked up 47 of his 101 yards on that drive, including a 16-yard burst on 3rd-and-5 that gave Utah a first down at Air Force's 9-yard line with just over a minute remaining. One play later, he blasted through the line and lunged toward the goal line to give Utah the lead.

"There is no better situation as a quarterback, to come down the field with a couple of timeouts and win the game," Utah quarterback Brian Johnson said. "To find a way to battle through it and win that game shows the character of this team."

Air Force (3-1, 1-1 MWC) had 58 seconds to tie the game, but junior safety Joe Dale intercepted Shea Smith on the first play of the Falcon's final drive to secure the victory.

"I read his eyes and he threw it right to me," Dale said. "I didn't expect that, but hey, I had to make a play."

The Utes overcame a mistake-filled first half, as they turned the ball over three times and went into the break losing, 16-9. But Johnson, whose lost fumble in the second quarter was returned by Jake Paulson 25 yards for an Air Force touchdown, recovered in the second half.

On the first drive of the third quarter, Johnson immediately marched the Utes down the field, tying the game on Mack's 8-yard scamper.

The senior quarterback was 16-of-23 for 243 yards with one touchdown and an interception, but he was also sacked six times as Utah's offensive line continually had problems containing the Falcons' outside rush.

What the Air Force defense couldn't do, however, was stop the run. In addition to Mack's big showing, Matt Asiata rushed for 116 yards on 19 carries.

"Their backs are very powerful," Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun said. "Converting on third-and-8 with about 3:50 left was the key play on that last drive. We played the way we had to play to have a shot. We had to be almost flawless and we were not."








  • NCAAF FINAL
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    UTAH (20) 9 0 7 14 30
    AIR FORCE 0 16 0 7 23 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: UTAH - TD, DAVID REED 47 YD PASS FROM
    BRIAN JOHNSON (LOUIE SAKODA
    KICK), 8:33. UTAH 7-0
    UTAH - SAFETY, BALL THROUGH END ZONE 10:22.
    UTAH 9-0
    2ND QUARTER: AIR FORCE - FG, RYAN HARRISON 44 YD, 3:07.

    Sep 20 6:55 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD UTAH
    BEN MACEY 9 YD RUN
    (LOUIE SAKODA KICK)
    UTAH (20) 30
    AIR FORCE 23 0:58 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Utah(20) 30, Air Force 23  4th - 0:58Sep 20 6:51 PM
  • 103
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 54 roots (Close Finish)

    Utah(20) 30, Air Force 23  4th - 0:58Sep 20 6:51 PM
  • 157
    roots
    DialH Added 5 roots

    Utah(20) 23, Air Force 23  4th - 2:06Sep 20 6:48 PM
  • 152
    roots
    bouch Added 5 roots

    Utah(20) 23, Air Force 23  4th - 2:06Sep 20 6:46 PM
  • 147
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 55 roots (Close Finish, Upset)

    Utah(20) 23, Air Force 23  4th - 2:06Sep 20 6:45 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD AIR FORCE
    SAVIER STEPHENS 1 YD RUN
    (RYAN HARRISON KICK)
    UTAH (20) 23
    AIR FORCE 23 5:06 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Utah(20) 23, Air Force 23  4th - 5:06Sep 20 6:36 PM
  • 92
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 77 roots (Close Finish, Upset)

    Utah(20) 23, Air Force 23  4th - 5:06Sep 20 6:36 PM
  • 15
    roots
    oliveoil5872 Added 5 roots

    Utah(20) 23, Air Force 16  4th - 11:09Sep 20 6:28 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD UTAH
    DARRELL MACK 1 YD RUN
    (LOUIE SAKODA KICK)
    UTAH (20) 23
    AIR FORCE 16 13:09 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Utah(20) 23, Air Force 16  4th - 13:09Sep 20 6:18 PM
  • 10
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 33 roots

    Utah(20) 23, Air Force 16  4th - 13:09Sep 20 6:18 PM


  • NCAAF END, 3RD QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    UTAH (20) 9 0 7 16
    AIR FORCE 0 16 0 16 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: UTAH - TD, DAVID REED 47 YD PASS FROM
    BRIAN JOHNSON (LOUIE SAKODA
    KICK), 8:33. UTAH 7-0
    UTAH - SAFETY, BALL THROUGH END ZONE 10:22.
    UTAH 9-0
    2ND QUARTER: AIR FORCE - FG, RYAN HARRI

    Sep 20 6:13 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD UTAH
    DARRELL MACK 8 YD RUN
    (LOUIE SAKODA KICK)
    UTAH (20) 16
    AIR FORCE 16 11:04 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Utah(20) 16, Air Force 16  3rd - 11:04Sep 20 5:52 PM
  • 43
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 33 roots (Upset)

    Utah(20) 16, Air Force 16  3rd - 11:04Sep 20 5:52 PM
  • 10
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 33 roots

    Utah(20) 9, Air Force 16  2nd - 14:55Sep 20 5:45 PM


  • NCAAF HALFTIME
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    UTAH (20) 9 0 9
    AIR FORCE 0 16 16 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: UTAH - TD, DAVID REED 47 YD PASS FROM
    BRIAN JOHNSON (LOUIE SAKODA
    KICK), 8:33. UTAH 7-0
    UTAH - SAFETY, BALL THROUGH END ZONE 10:22.
    UTAH 9-0
    2ND QUARTER: AIR FORCE - FG, RYAN HARRISON 44 Y

    Sep 20 5:22 PM
  • 43
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 33 roots (Upset)

    Utah(20) 9, Air Force 16  HalfSep 20 5:22 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD AIR FORCE
    JAKE PAULSON 25 YD FUMBLE RETURN
    (TWO-POINT CONVERSION FAILED)
    UTAH (20) 9
    AIR FORCE 16 3:35 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Utah(20) 9, Air Force 16  2nd - 3:35Sep 20 5:14 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD AIR FORCE
    KYLE LUMPKIN 8 YD PASS FROM SHEA SMITH
    (RYAN HARRISON KICK)
    UTAH (20) 9
    AIR FORCE 10 5:53 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Utah(20) 9, Air Force 10  2nd - 5:53Sep 20 5:05 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG AIR FORCE
    RYAN HARRISON 44 YD
    UTAH (20) 9
    AIR FORCE 3 11:53 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Utah(20) 9, Air Force 3  2nd - 11:53Sep 20 4:50 PM


  • NCAAF END, 1ST QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    UTAH (20) 9 9
    AIR FORCE 0 0 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: UTAH - TD, DAVID REED 47 YD PASS FROM
    BRIAN JOHNSON (LOUIE SAKODA
    KICK), 8:33. UTAH 7-0
    UTAH - SAFETY, BALL THROUGH END ZONE 10:22.
    UTAH 9-0

    Sep 20 4:43 PM


  • NCAAF
    SAFETY UTAH
    BALL THROUGH END ZONE
    UTAH (20) 9
    AIR FORCE 0 4:38 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Utah(20) 9, Air Force 0  1st - 4:38Sep 20 4:35 PM
  • 10
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Utah(20) 7, Air Force 0  1st - 6:27Sep 20 4:33 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD UTAH
    DAVID REED 47 YD PASS FROM BRIAN JOHNSON
    (LOUIE SAKODA KICK)
    UTAH (20) 7
    AIR FORCE 0 6:27 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Utah(20) 7, Air Force 0  1st - 6:27Sep 20 4:25 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Lemonman Added 5 roots

    Utah(20) vs. Air ForceSep 14 11:54 PM