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Sports >  WSU football

Difference makers: Linebacker tandem leads Utes’ staunch defense

Sept. 25, 2021 Updated Sat., Sept. 25, 2021 at 9:56 p.m.

By Colton Clark The Spokesman-Review

T.J. Pledger

The junior running back, an Oklahoma transfer, sparked the Utes after halftime and wound up making the two best plays of the day for Utah’s offense. He didn’t play in the first half, then came off the bench to log 117 yards on 10 carries. He burst through a big hole in the middle of WSU’s defensive line for a 59-yard gain early in the fourth quarter, and with about nine minutes to play ripped a 20-yard scoring scamper that put the Utes on top 17-13.

Ron Stone Jr.

WSU’s junior edge rusher had arguably his strongest performance in a Cougar uniform, logging three tackles for loss and one sack. He exploded past his blocker on the Utes’ first play of the second half and rocked Utah running back Micah Bernard, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Christian Mejia. The Cougars scored two plays later to take a 13-7 lead.

Karene Reid/ Devin Lloyd

The Utes have one of the best linebackers in the country in Lloyd, and a rising star in Reid, a freshman. Both of them combined for 23 tackles, four TFLs and two sacks. Reid picked off Cougs quarterback Jarrett Guarantano in the red zone on WSU’s second drive of the game and sidelined Max Borghi for the day on the first play of the second quarter. Lloyd made a spectacular interception in the third quarter, reading a screen play and darting into the backfield, then tipping Guarantano’s pass up in the air and to himself.

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