Ganther transforms from goat to hero, scores 3 TDs

first_imgLAS VEGAS — A week earlier, Quinton Ganther was the goat, or at least one of them, after he fumbled into the end zone, ending a late Ute rally in a home loss to San Diego State.In Saturday’s 42-32 win over UNLV, Ganther was the man after scoring three touchdowns, two on long runs, and piling up 155 yards rushing and catching a pair of passes for 66 yards.”Quinton had a big night and we need him to do that,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham.Afterward as he stood outside in the warm Nevada air without a shirt on, Ganther was trying to direct most of the attention toward the Ute line and receivers who made blocks downfield to help spring him.”It was great blocking on the perimeter and on the offensive line,” Ganther said. “I give them all the credit. They sprung me and I just opened it up. That’s all I had to do because everyone else did the rest.”Ganther showed some serious speed down the left sideline in front of the Utah bench on both of his touchdown runs. Both plays were options from Brian Johnson and once be got the ball he outran the Rebel defenders.The first long run, covering 63 yards, came midway through the third quarter with the Utes leading 28-13. Ganther took a pitch from quarterback Brian Johnson on the option around the left end and sprinted up the sideline virtually untouched.Later in the quarter after UNLV cut the lead to 35-20, Ganther got loose for a 40-yard run, almost retracing his steps down the east sideline.”It was same plays, same results,” said Ganther. “Brian made a good read. You’ve got John Madsen blocking down field, Derrek Richards blocking and Brent Casteel blocking. When you get guys like that blocking downfield, that’s how you get the big runs.”Ganther is known as a bruising, bowling ball-type back who gets it done between the tackles. But press box observers were impressed with how he turned on the jets and outran everyone to the end zone.When asked if he was surprised by Ganther’s display of speed, Johnson said no.”He’s got great acceleration and a great burst and he knows how to finish a run,” Johnson said. “I’m not surprised at all. He’s a very talented running back and he just did his job tonight.”In the first half, the Utes went to their passing game often as Johnson found John Madsen with a pair of scoring strikes. A 26-yard run by Ganther helped set up the second score, which put Utah ahead for good.On Utah’s next drive, Ganther got loose out of the backfield and caught a 27-yard third-down pass from Johnson. He capped the drive with a one-yard run off left tackle to make it 21-13.A flair pass to Ganther on Utah’s first drive of the second half nearly resulted in a touchdown as the play covered 39 yards before Ganther was tackled on the 4-yard line. On the next play, Johnson hit Brent Casteel with a four-yard TD pass. “Quinton was huge,” said Johnson “He made the big plays tonight and also caught the ball well tonight and did a good job running between the tackles. Quinton is the complete back.” Related E-mail: sor@desnews.comcenter_img Utes down UNLV to halt loss streaklast_img read more