Senior Robert Johnson knows a thing or two about stepping up when the spotlight is turned on him. He intercepted three passes in the fourth quarter this season and picked off two in the Utes' victory against Alabama in the BCS Sugar Bowl last season. Johnson talked with Sporting News' Ken Bradley about Thursday's Poinsettia Bowl matchup against Cal.
Utah relishes a chance to play a big-time school like Cal, Robert Johnson says.Sporting News: You had two picks in last year's BCS bowl win against Alabama. You enjoy the big games like this?
Robert Johnson: I love playing all the games. It seems like when a team really doesn't know that you're a good player, they kind of throw the ball toward you and I just try to try my hardest to make teams pay whenever they do throw the ball anywhere by me. Some of the big games we've played in this year like TCU and BYU, they didn't really have anybody throwing the ball by me. So I guess it was respect wise, I'm happy with it but sometimes it's more fun to do what I'm supposed to be doing. The coaches just tell me to be the human eraser.
SN: How big is it for Utah when it plays bowl games against BCS conference schools?
RJ: It's very big. Right now it's hard for certain Mountain West teams to even play against some of the big-time Pac-10 schools. The only time you run into them is around bowl games. Cal was ranked No. 4 early in the season. Cal is a real good team and has some real good players. Just to get the chance to play against them, that's one of the biggest things that makes this game even more special. It's a bowl game, but you're playing against an elite team so you want to get out there and really show you can play against them and give you the chance to really show that you can play.