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October 24, 2010

Utes rout Rams to stay perfect

SALT LAKE CITY -- Now comes the hard part.

Utah grabbed an early lead against Colorado State, extended it to 24-6 at the half, then scored 35 unanswered points in the second half to blow out the Rams, 59-6 in front of an announced crowd of 45,029 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

With the win, the Utes improve to 7-0 on the season, and 4-0 in the Mountain West Conference. But the schedule toughens significantly next week with a trip to the Air Force Academy, followed by a home game against pre-season league favorite TCU on Saturday, November 6.

Utah will enjoy this win over CSU for a few hours, then start getting ready for the Falcons and their option attack. "There was a lot of good stuff that came from tonight," stated head coach Kyle Whittingham, "but we know we have a tough test next Saturday in Air Force."

The outcome was never in doubt in this one, a game that began under cloudy skies and a steady rain. But the rain stopped right before halftime, and the Utes rolled to another huge win, getting touchdowns from six different players.

In what will be Utah's last game against Colorado State for awhile, the Utes cranked up the offense to the tune of 648 yards of total offense, the fifth-highest total in school history. Starting quarterback Jordan Wynn had an efficient day, completing 23 of his 29 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns.

Equally as impressive were no interceptions for Wynn, after Wyoming picked him off three times last week in Laramie. The big play for Wynn was a slant route to DeVonte Christopher over the middle that turned into a 71-yard Utah touchdown late in the second quarter.

That was not, however, Utah's longest scoring play of the game. That honor goes to sophomore running back Sausan Shakerin, who ran for a 72-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter for the game's final score.

Matt Asiata had two touchdowns, both 1-yard runs. The first gave Utah a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, Asiata's second score coming in the third quarter to make it 38-6.

That was after a Shaky Smithson touchdown catch early in the third period, an 18-yarder from Wynn that opened the second-half scoring assault.

Smithson wound up with five catches for 72 yards and a score, but was unable to break loose on either a punt or kickoff return in this game. In fact his fumbled punt early in the second quarter led to a Ram field goal that made it 7-3.

Devonte Christopher also had five catches for the Utes, for 111 yards and a touchdown, while senior Jereme Brooks had 7 receptions for 61 yards.

In all, 13 players had catches in the game, including freshman wideout Griff McNabb, who scored the first touchdown of his Utah career, a 5-yarder from Cain in the fourth quarter.

Eight different Utes had rushing attempts, led by Shakerin's 80 yards on 4 carries. Eddie Wide totaled 71 yards on his 9 carries, including a 36-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

That was Wide's second score of the game, his first coming on a screen pass from Wynn that went for a 30-yard touchdown that extended the Utah lead to 14-3 at the 10:11 mark of the second quarter.

The Ute defense turned in yet another spectacular performance, keeping CSU out of the end zone while limiting the Rams to just 213 yards of total offense, and only 28 on the ground.

The defense also helped Utah win the turnover battle, 2-1. Christian Cox recovered a fumble in the third quarter and Conroy Black came up with his first career interception in the fourth.

NOTES:

Junior linebacker Chaz Walker was Utah's leading tackler with eight. For Walker, it's the fourth time in seven games he's led the team in tackles.

Joe Phillips extended his consecutive field goal streak to 18 with a 36-yarder in the second quarter. That streak is tied for the longest in the nation with Notre Dame's David Ruffer.

Phillips hit all eight of his extra point attempts, the fourth time this season he's gone 8-for-8 on PAT's (New Mexico, San Jose State, Iowa State and Colorado State).


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