by Rick Istvan | These former Utah collegiate athletes are still in the hunt for that sweet, sweet taste of victory.
NFC- LA Rams @ Green Bay Packers
The LA Rams were able to find a way to advance by defeating Bobby Wagner (Utah State) and the Seattle Seahawks. This week the Rams will travel to Green Bay to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Gay hoping to kick the Packers out of the playoffs
Matt Gay hasn’t had an easy path during his NFL career. His path to the Super Bowl isn’t going to be any easier. The Lou Grouza Award winner was the Utes first ever winner and second ever finalist. Since Gay has been with the Rams, he has shown why he is a Grouza winner. Gay has been nothing but clutch. Last week against the Seahawks, Gay scored the first points of the game by hitting a 40 yard field goal. He would then go on to make two more field goals and all three extra points in the Rams 30 – 20 win over the Seahawks. Gay was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019. The Lou Grouza award winner would love nothing more than end up back in Tampa in February.
They may be out, but they’re hoping the Rams stay in
Terrell Burgess (safety) and Jonah Williams (defensive end) are both rookies this season for the Rams. Burgess was a third round pick out of Utah, while Williams was undrafted out of Webster State. Burgess contributed to the Rams immediately. Playing in seven games for the Rams, Burgess has eight tackles and a pass deflection before suffering a broken ankle in October. Burgess was placed on injured reserve but will be back for the 2021-2022 season. Will the former Ute be returning as a defending Super Bowl champ, or will he be on a mission to help the Rams get there once again?
Jonah Williams has been a member of the Rams practice squad. The 6’5” 275 lb. 25-year-old out of Webster State is patiently waiting for his opportunity. Even though he hasn’t had the chance to play, Williams has the opportunity to learn from Aaron Donald. Donald is arguably one of if not the best defensive lineman in the NFL. If you have to wait your turn, why not wait behind the best to do it?
Jalen Greene is a rookie wide receiver out of Utah State. While playing for the Aggies, Greene caught passes from now Green Bay Packer QB Jordan Love. Today, the two former teammates will now play against each other. Either way, one of these Aggies will be moving on to the next round.
Honey and cheese: It’s so “gouda!”
He’s Loving it
Jordan Love was the Packers 26th overall pick in last years NFL draft. The former Utah State Aggie hasn’t had the chance to play just yet. With Aaron Rodgers calling the plays, Love not starting comes as no surprise. However, the Packers wouldn’t have used such a high pick on Love if they didn’t expect great things from him. Rodgers is great, but father time catches up to all of us. When the time comes, Love will be under center for the Packers and the fans will love it. Rodgers sat behind Favre, Brady sat behind Bledsoe, and Young sat behind Montana. Sometimes the best things come to those who wait and Love hopefully is no different. Make no mistake, the Packers have big plans for Love. It may sound cheesy, but hopefully Jordan Love will be worth all the “cheddar” he was paid.
This Cougar is running over Rams
Jamaal Williams is a former BYU Cougar. Williams doesn’t lead the Packers in rushing, but he’s a contributor. Aaron Jones gets most of the carries. However, against other NFC opponents Williams holds his own. Against NFC competitors, Williams has 87 carries for 386 yards and a touchdown. Williams has also caught 23 receptions for 107 yards. Williams adds a threat to an already deep Green Bay backfield. Last week against the Bears, Williams had five carries for 26 yards. This week against the Rams, Williams will look to make a bigger impact and help lead the Packers to a playoff win.
This isn’t the end of his defense
Tipa Galeai is an undrafted rookie defensive end out of Utah State. Galeai was activated for the Packers 43-34 Week 1 win over the Vikings. Since then, Galeai has been on the Packers practice squad. Even though he hasn’t had the chance to play yet, Galeai still has a spot with the team. With injuries and COVID-19, a player never knows when their number might get called. I have no doubt if and when Galeai gets his chance, he will make the most of his opportunity.
AFC – Baltimore Ravens @ Buffalo Bills
On January 11, 2020 the Tennessee Titans beat the Baltimore Ravens 28 – 12 in Maryland to advance in the playoffs. This year, the Ravens had different plans. Almost a year later, on January 10, 2021 in Nashville, the Ravens beat Tennessee 20-13 to move on in the playoffs. The Ravens now face Josh Allen and the Bills in Buffalo.
There’s a wildcat in Buffalo
Taron Johnson is a former Weber State Wildcat. Johnson, in his third year, has played in all 16 games this season for the Bills. Out of those 16 games Johnson has started 11 of them. Johnson has tallied 86 total tackles, one sack, seven pass deflections, one interception returned for a touchdown and one forced fumble. Johnson has played solid football at the cornerback position for the Buffalo Bills. This has been an incredible season for the Bills. Johnson has been an asset in helping Buffalo get this far. He would love the opportunity to represent Webster State in the Super Bowl.
The Bills got Mossed
Zack Moss is a rookie running back out of Utah. Moss was the Utes all time leading rusher. This season for the Bills Moss has played in 13 games. During those 13 games Moss has 112 carriers for 481 yards and 4 touchdowns. Moss also has 14 receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown. Against the Colts Moss had seven carries for 21 yards and four catches for 26 yards. Moss would sustain an ankle injury after only playing 20 snaps that would end the rest of his season. Moss showed tremendous upside and will be an asset in the backfield for a young Buffalo team.
Quoth the Raven nevermore
The definition of nevermore is never again or not happening again. For some players, moments like the playoffs never come again. Tyler Huntley (quarterback) is a former Utah Ute who is an undrafted rookie free agent for the Baltimore Ravens. Huntley didn’t see much playing time this year for the Ravens. Huntley played in two games, totaling five pass attempts with three completions for fifteen yards. Huntley also had 10 rushes for 23 yards and one first down. The Ravens have Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III and Trace McSorley as their quarterbacks. However, with injuries to Griffin III and McSorley, Huntley was elevated as Jackson’s backup this week against the Bills.
If you’re a Ravens fan you don’t want Lamar to get injured. However, if Jackson does get hurt Huntley needs to perform. Huntleys performance could be a make or break situation that he may never get again. Buffalo is a very good team. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs are dynamic. Tremaine Edmunds and the Bills defense have also played extremely well. This is going to be a game that has no room for error. If Huntley has to come into the game, he needs to play infallible. The Ravens are tapping on the playoff door. Buffalo is standing in the Ravens’ way saying “quote the Bills, nevermore.”
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