So much for picking the Utes in a close game. That the Utes beat the Washington State Cougars Saturday wasn't much of a surprise, that they were able to do so decisively with several key players injured was impressive.
The Utes didn't have running back Kelvin York or corner Ryan Lacy but still dismantled the Cougars.
Running back John White looked his best in several games rushing for 101 yards.
Utah's defense never let the Cougars' passing attack warm up as Joe Kruger, Tenny Palepoi, Trevor Reilly and others kept continuous pressure on the quarterback.
All in all it was a solid win for the Utes, who have their first winning streak of the year.
The only downer was Washington State's touchdown in the closing seconds, which prevented the Utes from earning their second shutout of the season.
"That was pretty disappointing," Kruger said in aptly summing up the game. "But it's all right, we killed them."
Couple stats to point out was Utah held the Cougars to minus-4 rushing yards, the fifth-fewest yards ever gained by a Utah opponent. The Utes recorded a season-high six sacks, tying for the sixth-most sacks in a game in team history.
It was overall domination by the Utes and complete frustration for the Cougars, who were ripped by their coach Mike Leach.
"Our five couldn't whip their two," he said of his offensive line. "Which means, if five of our guys went in an alley and got in a fight with two of their's we would have gotten massacred. That's just ridiculously inexcusable."
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said the Utes still have a lot of improving to do, but at least now they've got some confidence as they head to Washington.
"The chemistry is good and we're starting to gel a little bit with the offense and the scheme," he said.
Ok here are the grades, which are pretty easy to hand out today.
Hard to find anything wrong with the Utes and the way they played Saturday. Washington State might be a struggling team, but kudos to the way the Utes came out and set the tone early.
John White looked like his old self as he rushed for 101 yards and quarterback Travis Wilson was solid, although he did throw one interception.
Good to see the Utes get Anthony Denham involved in the offense with three catches for 38 yards. Utah's offensive line gave up three sacks through the first three quarters but overall played well considering the Utes have several injured players on the line.
Utah's Joe Kruger led the pass rush as the Utes had five sacks in the first half, more than they logged in any previous game.
Corner Moe Lee also played solid as did Lewis Walker, who stepped in for the injured Ryan Lacy.
Getting Kruger inside proved to be the big difference in the game.
"It was one of those rare weeks where it was pass first, run second mentality," Whittingham said. "We almost always take away the run first and work to the pass. It was a different scheme but the players were outstanding and executed well."
Special teams: A
Reggie Dunn gets in the record books with his return and Coleman Petersen makes two field goals. Call it a banner day for special teams.
Dunn set the school record with four career kickoff returns and holds Utah's single-season record for kickoff return touchdowns in a season with three.
"I could do it every week if they keep kicking it to me," he said.
- Lya Wodraska
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