This is one of the top 5 teams in the country. Read that again. THIS IS ONE OF THE TOP FIVE TEAMS IN THE COUNTRY!!!!!! This team is more talented than the 2008 team. I'm beginning to think that they are more talented than the 2004 team. Kyle Whittingham has them prepared. They're like a machine.
In scoring 68 points on Iowa State, the Utes put up their highest total since 1983. The offense was working in every facet from the run game, to the passing game, to the trick plays, to the special teams.
Jordan Wynn was amazing, even better than his 23 of 31 for 324 yards might indicate. He had two drives in the middle of the second quarter where he looked as good as any quarterback in the country, hitting his receivers in stride and in the hands on every throw. He was throwing darts, doing whatever he wanted, and moving his team down the field with ease. This may have been the turning point for Jordan Wynn where he goes from good quarterback to elite quarterback. Before his career is over, he's going to be mentioned in the same breath as Alex Smith and Brian Johnson.
Devonte Christopher had another huge game, which fits into his pattern of a big game followed by a poor game. With 6 catches for 124 yards and touchdown, Christopher stretched the field, and held on to every dart Wynn threw his way. If he maintains this pattern, he'll have a poor day against Wyoming, a good day against Colorado State, a poor game against Air Force, and then a big game, in the big game, against TCU.
Jereme Brooks was used mostly as a decoy for the Utes and had his lowest production on the year with only two catches, but other receivers stepped up with Shaky Smithson continuing to make big plays whenever he catches the ball with a 61 yard touchdown catch and a 32 yard touchdown pass to DeVonte Christopher. Tight end Kendrick Moeia was very active in the passing game with 2 catches for 36 yards and figures to get more balls going forward. Luke Matthews also had two catches and Fatu Moala made his first career catch.
The running game was very good, going for over 200 yards. Again, neither Wide nor Asiata was able to break the big run that I've been begging for, for weeks, but were still very good in pounding the ball up the middle against an undersized Iowa State line and inexperienced linebackers. The offensive line is getting a great initial push in the run game and Iowa State had no chance to slow down the rushing attack, as Schlauderaff and company paved the way for what is becoming commonplace for the Utah running backs; 5 and 6 yard runs over and over again.
The defense was better than the 27 points would leave one to believe. Iowa State picked up two touchdowns after being given short fields following Utah turnovers, including on inside the Utah 10 yard line. The Cyclones also added a late score against the second and third team defense for Utah, but the starters were dominant again. The pass rush was decent, but mostly out of blitz packages. The lack of pressure from the defensive ends is getting more and more worrisome as the season goes on. This needs to be fixed before TCU rolls into town.
Matt Martinez was the best linebacker for the third game in a row. The linebackers weren't tremendous, but were solid by staying in their lanes, and making the necessary tackles. The big win gave a lot of the younger linebackers a chance to get a few reps, which is huge down the line.
The pass defense was tremendous, holding Austen Arnaud to 178 yards on 13 of 31 passing with two interceptions. Brandon Burton had his first interception of the year and was only thrown at a few times. He's getting better every week and should be getting consideration for All American honors. Justin Taplin-Ross had a nice interception that he almost took back for a touchdown, and probably would have done so had he not collided with Brian Blechen while making the pick. A big standout was cornerback Conroy Black, who had extended playing time and was always around the ball. Austen Arnaud tried picking on Black quite a bit throughout the game, but without much success. Black does need to do a better job of watching the ball instead of his man going forward or he's going to get beat or commit a few pass interference calls.
Special teams is looking like one of the best in the country. 324 total return yards including a kickoff return touchdown by Reggie Dunn, and one of the best punt returns you'll see by Shaky Smithson that fell a yard short of the goal-line. A blocked PAT. Joe Phillips was 4 for 4 on field goals and is yet to miss a kick of any kind yet on the year. Special teams is what ends up being the difference in a tight game against a good team. The Utes are going to have a special teams edge over every team they play, and it may be the difference going forward in games against Air Force, Notre Dame, and TCU.
The second quarter is starting to get ridiculous. The Utes have now outscored their opponents 101-7 this season in the second frame, putting every game, but the Pitt game, out of reach. In the last four games, The Utes have outscored their opponents 87-0, or an average of almost 22-0 in each second quarter. A big reason for the improvement from the first to the second quarter, and the domination the Utes have had in that second quarter is because of the coaches and the adjustments they've made. Kalani Sitake and Aaron Roderick are two of the best in the business at making adjustments on the fly and that is showing in the point differential in the second quarter. After watching the opposing team for a quarter, they've each been able to find the holes and deficiencies of the other team and exploit them immediately.
This was a complete domination by the Utes and they proved that they belong in the national title discussion. The Utes had a total of 1,026 yards when you add together running, passing, punt and kick returns, and interception returns. That is an unbelievable number and something the coaches are going to be very proud of. Now that they've gone on the road and knocked off a BCS team that is likely bound, we have much better idea of just how good the Utes are. It's hard to write about a team when they're winning, when they're lacking adversity, when everything is going well. It's much easier when things are going wrong. I'm sure Kyle Whittingham, his players, and Ute fans aren't too upset with my predicament.
Utes Put the Hurt on Iowa State
Ute Zone Top Stories
Know your foe: WashingtonUteZone caught up with Washington insider Chris Fetters to get his take on Saturday's big game.
Ute Zone9:09 AM
Santiago embraces life as a UteWalk-on receiver Andrew Santiago has reveled in his experience as a Ute
Ute ZoneYesterday at 8:28 PM
Carlson discusses Utah commitmentUtah commit Branden Carlson talks about the circumstances around his decision
Ute ZoneMonday at 10:29 PM
Film Room: UCLAUteZone breaks down the biggest impact plays from Utah's win over UCLA
Ute ZoneMonday at 8:41 PM
Analysis: Branden Carlson commits to UtahUtah basketball landed a key in-state recruit on Sunday. Here's what Carlson's commitment means to the class
Ute ZoneMonday at 10:02 AM