Utes Insider - Mike Wright, starting linebacker on Utah's 2008 Sugar Bowl Team
(Episode 16 – August 28, 2020)
Utes Insider – Mike Wright, starting linebacker on Utah's 2008 Sugar Bowl team
Former two-time honorable mention all-conference linebacker Mike Wright joins this edition of Utes Insider presented by Pepsi to look back at his career from 2006-09, which included Utah's undefeated Sugar Bowl season in 2008.
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Wright, a native of Bountiful, Utah, walked on to the team after starting his college career at Southern Utah and earned a scholarship for his final two seasons. He led Utah in tackles in 2008 and was second in 2009.
During the 2008 season, when Utah went 13-0 and finished No. 2 in the national polls, Wright led Utah in tackles five times, including a seven-tackle game in the Sugar Bowl. He was named the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week against Oregon State, when he recorded 15 tackles, two pass breakups and a sack. He also had 10 tackles against Air Force and nine tackles against BYU in the final game of the regular season at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
When Wright played for the Utes, he was one of several preferred walk-ons who eventually earned a scholarship and became a starter. While Utah's 2008 defense was comprised of nine players who eventually moved on to the NFL, Wright said during the show it was the way the group played that made them so successful.
One of the pivotal wins during the 2008 season came when Utah, ranked No. 8 in the BCS rankings, came back from a 10-0 first quarter deficit to defeat No. 11 TCU, 13-10 on Nov. 6 in Salt Lake City. Wright discussed where that win ranked in importance that season.
Utah was invited to play in a BCS bowl game for the second time in five years in 2008, drawing a match-up in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama, a team that was ranked No. 1 in the nation five weeks. The Utes' offense gave them a 21-0 lead, but the defense held the Crimson Tide to just 31 rushing yards and sacked quarterback John Parker Wilson eight times. Wright credits defensive coordinator Gary Anderson for an excellent game plan.
Wright currently lives in Riverton with his wife Amanda and three children. He works for Pluralsight and owns Fiiz Drinks in Sandy.