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RECAP: Utah defense dominates Stanford in 52-7 rout

Nov 5, 2021; Stanford, California, USA;  Utah Utes running back Tavion Thomas (9) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Utah Utes running back Tavion Thomas (9) runs with the ball during the second quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Linebacker Devin Lloyd capped a brilliant defensive effort with an interception for a touchdown and Tavion Thomas rushed for four scores Friday night as Utah remained in the driver’s seat for a Pac-12 South title with a 52-7 shellacking of host Stanford.

Thomas finished with a career-best 177 yards on 20 carries for the Utes (6-3, 5-1 Pac-12), who now need just two wins in their final three games to earn a spot in the conference championship game.

Thomas scored on 10- and 5-yard runs in the first quarter, then added 58- and 11-yarders in the second as Utah built a 28-0 lead in the game’s first 23 1/2 minutes.

TJ Pledger sprinted 96 yards for a fifth Utah touchdown and Jadon Redding nailed a 29-yard field goal on the last play of the second quarter, sending the Utes into halftime with a 38-0 advantage.

Stanford (3-6, 2-5) played much more competitively in the second half, getting onto the scoreboard on the first drive of the third quarter with a 4-yard run by Isaiah Sanders.

Utah, which was coming off an impressive 44-24 win over UCLA, matched that point total when Lloyd jumped at the line of scrimmage, snatched a Jack West pass and fell into the end zone for a touchdown.

Earlier in the game, Lloyd made five tackles for losses.

Micah Bernard added a sixth rushing TD for the Utes from 11 yards out with 1:48 to play to complete the scoring.

The run pushed Bernard over the 100-yard mark with 110. Pledger finished with 107 on just four carries as Utah rolled up 441 rushing yards and 581 total yards.

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Utah quarterback Cameron Rising went 13 of 22 for 140 yards without a touchdown or interception. The Utes lost one fumble but benefitted from two Cardinal turnovers.

Stanford’s West finished 12-for-18 for 59 yards with the one interception. En route to a fourth straight defeat, the Cardinal totaled 167 yards, with E.J. Smith producing a team-high 53 on the ground on seven carries.

–Field Level Media