Ford and Thomas Snag Pac-12 Weekly Laurels
SAN FRANCISCO – University of Utah junior offensive lineman Nick Ford and sophomore running back Tavion Thomas have earned a pair of Pac-12 weekly awards, as the league office announced on Monday that Ford was named the Offensive Line Player of the Week, and Thomas the league's Offensive Player of the Week. For Ford, it is his second weekly honor of the 2021 season.
The always-versatile Ford moved over to left guard from center, in part a result of some injury-related shuffling on the Utah line. Still, the veteran helped protect for a Utah offense that generated a season-high 469 total yards—the fourth straight 400-plus yard performance for the Utes. Sophomore quarterback Cameron Rising was neither intercepted nor sacked on 71 offensive plays, and only two UCLA tackles went for a loss on the night. Rising had four completions of 15-plus yards (totaling 73 passing yards) and Utah recorded 11 carries of 10-plus yards (totaling 162 yards). Even amid occasional shuffling in positions, Ford and his fellow linemen have proven a reliable group, which has not allowed a Rising sack in three straight games (a total of 217 plays). Ford is one of just two linemen in all of FBS football to start at each position on the line throughout his career.
Thomas paced the ground game with a season-high 24 carries for a career-best 160 yards, and a school-record-tying four touchdowns. Thomas averaged 6.7 yards per carry, and his four scores were the most on the ground in the Pac-12 last weekend. It was the first four-TD game by a Utah rusher since 2016, eighth in program history and just the third in the Pac-12 since 2019.
Fittingly on the night that Utah retired the No. 22 jersey--most recently worn by the late Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe--Thomas had the most rushing yards in a game by a Ute since the Jordan had 167 vs. Oregon State during 2020. In that same theme, Thomas is the first Utah player since Jordan in 2020 both to rush for three touchdowns in a game, and also do so in a half, as Thomas found the end zone three times before halftime. It was Thomas' third multi-touchdown game of the season and fourth of his career. Thomas also recorded his third 100-yard rushing game, fifth by a Ute this season (three different players) and fifth of Thomas' career.
Utah (5-3, 4-1 Pac-12) has a short week as the Utes gear up for a Friday night, Nov. 5 game out at Stanford (3-5, 2-4 Pac-12). FS1 will carry the matchup, which kicks at 8:30 p.m. MT from Stanford Stadium.
Nick Ford • 2021 Awards and Accolades
- Pac-12 Offensive Line Player of the Week (Oct. 18, Nov. 1)
- Reese's Senior Bowl Watch List
- Preseason All-Pac-12 (Athlon Sports, Phil Steele, Pac-12)
Tavion Thomas • 2021 Awards and Accolades
- Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week (Nov. 1)