College football • Utes' conversion rate is improving.
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Utah receiver Dres Anderson likes making big plays and if he can make them on third downs, even better.
Anderson, a sophomore who is second on the team with 27 catches and third with 258 receiving yards, was the go-to guy on two of Utah's third-down conversions against Washington State.
He rushed for an 8-yard gain on a third-and-3 and caught a 5-yard pass on a third-and-4 in the Utes' 49-6 win.
Already a fixture in Utah's passing offense, Anderson said he relishes the chances he is now getting on third downs.
"If they keep giving me the ball on third down, I'm going to try to make it happen," he said. "We've had our defense on the field too much in the past and we need to keep drives going and putting up more points too, so if I can help with that, I'm happy."
The Utes struggled on third-down conversions earlier in the season but have been better in the last two games, going 8-for-13 against Cal and 7-for-13 against Washington State.
The Utes are 46-for-129 on the season.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham attributed the improvement to better overall execution.
"We're getting in more manageable situations like third and 2, 3, 4 and 5 rather than third and 7, 8 or 10 like we were before," he said.
There are several players from Washington and Utah who went to the same high schools. Among them are Washington offensive lineman Mike Criste and Utah receiver Sean Fitzgerald (Mission Viejo), Washington receiver James Johnson and Utah defensive end Trevor Reilly (Valley Center) and Washington snapper Ryan Masel and Utah receiver Luke Matthews (Desert Vista).
Matthews has been selected to the Capital One Academic All-District team. He earned his degree in communication in May and has a 3.69 GPA. This year he has 10 catches for 127 yards. Matthews, who is a team captain, also has five career touchdowns.