Run and Shoot: Johnson a Gem in Poinsettia Bowl Win

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Johnson a Gem in Poinsettia Bowl Win

SAN DIEGO - Brian Johnson has had expectations to deal with throughout his tenure at Utah. He took the quarterback reins from Alex Smith, a No. 1 NFL Draft pick and leader of the unbeaten 2004 Utes. In his first season, Johnson posted more total yardage than Vince Young, Matt Leinart or Reggie Bush. So in '06, Johnson entered with enormous hype, which was deflated by injury. The Johnson of '07 never quite reached the level Johnson '05 attained -- until tonight.

Utah scored for the third consecutive time to open the final stanza on Johnson's 20-yard dash out of shotgun. The touchdown gave Utah a 28-17 lead, and prompted Navy linebacker Russ Pospisil to say: "He brings a different dynamic to that offense."

Truly, Johnson was the story for the Utes offensively. He recovered from a slow first half to finish with 226 yards on 20-of-25 pass attempts.

"He did a real nice job of calling the game," Utah head coach Kyle Wittingham said. Johnson had free reign to make play checks and read the Navy defense from the line of scrimmage, out of the Utes' option shotgun formation.

In addition to his proficience through the air, Johnson rushed for 70 yards. He was averaging only eight per game coming in, but tonight on the wet turf at Qualcomm Stadium, Johnson recpatured the edge that made him so dangerous.

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