Ute football: Weber dispatched, Utah's eyes now on Oregon State

Published September 28, 2008 8:22 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Posted: 8:22 AM- By the time the Utah Utes reached their locker room Saturday following the 37-21 win over Weber State, their thoughts were already past the Wildcats and onto Oregon State.

Rightfully so too, the Utes (5-0) know from watching the Beavers (2-2) upset USC on Thursday they must have their most complete game yet to remain undefeated.

"We were all watching that game," linebacker Stevenson Sylvester said. "We know every week everyone is coming for us and they're a good team."

The whole country knows that after the Beavers stunned the Trojans 27-21. Leading the way was a running back unlike any the Utes have faced this season in freshman Jacquizz Rodgers, a 5-foot-6 elusive runner who finished with 186 yards and two touchdowns against the Trojans.

"He's obviously a great back and they have a good offensive line," Utah defensive lineman Greg Newman said. "Definitely it's our greatest challenge to date in the season." After opening the season with a 36-28 loss at Stanford and a 45-14 loss at Penn State, the Beavers have found some momentum, notching their first win by beating Hawaii 45-7 before Thursday's upset of the Trojans.

Rodgers is averaging 4.5 yards a carry. Quarterback Lyle Moevao is 97-for-157 for 1,089 yards and eight touchdowns with four interceptions.

Knowing what is coming made the victory over Weber State easy to put behind them, the Utes said.

"Our football team understands there is a big game in five days," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.

Last season the Beavers beat Utah 24-7 in the season opener. Both running back Matt Asiata and quarterback Brian Johnson suffered serious injuries in the game.

"Oregon State beat us up pretty good last year," Johnson said. "We came home limping. Things have to pick up and we have to take it to a different level as far as preparation, especially in a short week."

At least the Utes' comfortable victory over the Wildcats allowed most of the starters to rest. Johnson and many others didn't play in the fourth quarter.

However, as decisive as Saturday's win was for the Utes, they know their offense must play better than it has all season. The Utes settled for three field goals against the Wildcats and overall the team played 'average,' according to the Utes.

They need more than average on Thursday.

"We'll play better than this," running back Darrell Mack said after Saturday's win.

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