October 9, 2006

MWC wrap-up

Utah 20, TCU 7

What a difference five days makes. The Utes (4-2, 2-0 MWC) recovered three fumbles in the fourth quarter to snuff out any hope of a TCU (3-2, 0-2) comeback. The impressive defensive performance helped erase the Boise debacle in the previous game. It also was a relief for the Utes to see Brett Ratliff bounce back, throwing two touchdown passes to Brent Casteel and ripping off a couple of nice runs. TCU's team speed was evident on defense, but the offense didn't get going with Lonta Hobbs filling in at tailback and Jeff Ballard's shoulder keeping him from throwing downfield effectively. Marcus Jackson was better when he replaced Ballard in the second half, but couldn't get the team in the end zone. Eric Weddle continued to pad his legacy, this time with an interception that was originally ruled a fumble recovery. Weddle now has 17 career picks, one behind Harold Lusk for first in the school record books.

What this means to the Utes: A lot. Utah now controls their own destiny for the MWC championship, with many eyes turning towards the BYU showdown at the end of the season. If Utah can keep their eyes on the present, they could easily go into that game with a chance for their third title in four years. With two losses to teams that are still undefeated in conference, a chance of a TCU repeat is extremely unlikely.

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