Courtesy Utah Athletics
Utah’s Filipo Mokofisi assists on a tackle during Utah’s 19-13 victory over BYU Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017.
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah defensive tackles Lowell Lotulelei and Filipo Mokofisi were given a moniker following the Utes’ 19-13 win at BYU. Head coach Kyle Whittingham dubbed the duo “Thing One” and “Thing Two” after their performances in the Utes’ seventh straight victory in the Rivalry Game.
Lotulelei and Mokofisi were named players of the game by Whittingham for the pressure Utah applied up front. BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum, who completed 21 of 39 passes for 170 yards, was intercepted three times and sacked three times by the Utes’ defense. They broke up six passes and recorded three quarterback hurries.
Defensive line coach Lewis Powell said it was Lotulelei’s “best game as a Ute.” He also noted that Mokofisi played very well.
“Together they played a lot of reps,“ said Powell, who added that both linemen saw 54 snaps in Provo. “I feel like they didn’t want to get off the field.”
The senior captains broke up a pass in the game and teamed on Utah’s first interception by an interior lineman since Greg Newman had one in 2008 against Wyoming.
Mokofisi recorded the pick after securing a ball tipped by Lotulelei.
“It was the perfect storm for Filipo. The ball came right to him, right in his gut. I think he bobbled it for a second and then he got control and got us a few positive yards,” Whittingham said. “But the catalyst was Lowell getting his hands up. That’s something we stress with the D-line ad nauseam. I mean it’s every day, all day.”
Whittingham explained that in addition to getting to the quarterback, defenders are encouraged to get their hands up and into the throwing lanes.
“You can affect throws a couple different ways besides sacks,” Whittingham said. “So it was ‘Thing One’ and ‘Thing Two’ at their best.”
Both players, though, credited being in proper position as much as anything for making the play.
“It was just a matter of us being in the right…