SALT LAKE CITY -- On a day when the offenses combined for 797 yards, the White defeated the Red 35-28 to win Utah's annual spring football game on Saturday afternoon at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
With a rainy morning and cool temperatures likely keeping some fans away, 8,633 still turned out as the sunshine finally broke through just before the start of the game. The rain cut loose again just as it ended, but in between, the two teams put on quite an offensive display.
Travis Wilson, who started the final seven games at quarterback last season as a true freshman, led the White team by throwing for 210 yards three touchdowns. He completed 13 of 17 passes without and interception and directed five scoring drives in the first half before calling it a day. Kenneth Scott, who will be a junior in the fall, was Wilson's top target with five catches for 97 yards and a score.
Rising senior Karl Williams led the ground attack for the White, rolling up 108 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries.
When coach Kyle Whittingham was asked for reasons why the offenses were so good under co-coordinators Dennis Erickson, who is in his first season, and Brian Johnson, who is in his second year, he was quick to point out the play of the big guys up front.
"The offensive line has been night and day compared to last year," Whittingham said. "The main reason is Dan Finn has done a great job coaching them, they've worked their tails off in the offseason, and we've been able to have some continuity in the spring without any injuries. We had 17 guys in spring camp without any days missed, and I can't ever remember that being the case."
Whittingham also likes what he's seen from Erickson's influence so far.
"He's adjusted the tempo of the offense, he's simplified what we're doing, and he's added some elements that have been good additions -- mainly utilizing the running backs in the throw game a bit more and simplifying the run game. There's not a whole lot of variation from one team to another team that runs the spread, but just those subtle changes can make a big difference."
One of the running backs who benefited from Erickson's changes was Williams, who scored all three of his touchdowns in the first half as the White raced out to a 35-14 lead. On the opening series, the White team grinded out a 14-play drive that was capped off by Williams' 2-yard touchdown run.
Not to be outdone, the Red team scored the first time it touched the ball as well, needing just two plays. Rising redshirt sophomore quarterback Adam Schulz connected with Dres Anderson on 57-yard pass. That set up Lucky Radley for an 8-yard run to tie the game at 7-7.
Wilson had a big play of his own to start his second drive, hooking up with Scott on a 37-yarder. Four plays later, Williams went in from four yards out to give the White team a 14-7 lead.
Schulz countered with another big throw for the Red team to tie the game at 14-14 all, hitting Brian Allen with 28-yard pass in the final minute of the first quarter.
The White team then pulled away by scoring the final 21 points of the half. James Poole scored on a 12-yard swing pass out to the right flat from Wilson, giving the White team a 21-14 lead.
Schulz threw for a game-high 245 yards, going 9-for-20 with one pick and two touchdowns. Delshawn McClellon, a native of North Long Beach, Calif., who will be a redshirt freshman in the fall, made four catches for 102 yards. Anderson finished with three catches for 71 yards. York led the Red team ground attack with 13 carries for 79 yards.
Poole, who is in a battle with Williams and Radley for the No. 2 running back job behind York, had a solid day. He had 10 carries for 62 yards and four catches for 49 yards.
True freshman linebacker Uaea Masina of the Red team had a game-high seven tackles. Teammates Quade Chappuis and Travis Still both had six stops.
The Utes open their 2013 season on Aug. 29 against Weber State at Rice-Eccles Stadium.