The “old man” still has it, apparently.
Two games into the 2016 season, Joe Williams announced his retirement from the sport because of unspecified health issues. Less than four weeks later, the senior running back returned to a Utah squad a few days ago because of a backfield decimated by injury.
In his first post-retirement game, Williams showed no rust from his month away from the sport as he ran for 179 yards in No. 21 Utah’s 19-14 win over Oregon State. Williams did yeoman’s work, too, as he carried the ball 34 times in averaging just over five yards per carry.
The carries matched a career high, while the yards were just eight short of the 187 he had against Colorado in the regular-season finale last season.
Williams’ 75 yards rushing this season were second on the team at the time he walked away. He was second among Ute backs last season with 477 yards.
It’s expected that Williams will continue to shoulder a sizable portion of the running game load — he accounted for just over 65 percent of the Utes’ rushing yards vs. OSU — for the foreseeable future as four of the Utes’ six leading rusher are either out for the season or indefinitely.