Utah put up another good showing against an overmatched Wyoming team, but the lack of style points may hurt the Utes in the polls. The 30-6 victory was much more dominant than the final score indicated, but to pollsters who only get a chance to see that final score before voting, it wasn't enough to get a big reaction across the country.
Take back a lot of what I said last week about Wynn being on the cusp of elite quarterback status. Until he cuts down the interceptions, which have really become a problem in the red-zone, he can't be considered elite yet. A lot of throws were either forced, or thrown into spots that were unreasonable to get a ball into and that has to stop before TCU makes it to Salt Lake City. Despite the interceptions, Wynn was still pretty efficient going 16 of 25 for 230 yards and two touchdowns to go along with the three interceptions, but tried to do too much at times and that has to stop. Too confident?
The Utes finally got their first hundred yard rusher of the year with Matt Asiata taking 16 carries for 109 yards. The offensive line opened up a ton of holes, but Asiata did most of the work himself getting into that second level consistently by putting his head down and picking up 6 and 7 yards over and over again. With the undersized defensive line of Wyoming, the game plan fit the power running of Asiata and he excelled. Eddie Wide was decent in picking up 57 yards on 13 carries. Wide was impressive catching balls with 3 catches for 41 yards.
The offensive line has pretty much established itself as one of the top 5 in the country. They did give up a sack towards the end of the game, but did a tremendous job in picking up the constant blitzes that Wyoming was throwing their way and opened up good sized holes for Wide and Asiata. There was one play early in the game where Caleb Schlauderaff drove his man straight back and about ten yards down the field. Very impressive.
Luke Matthews and Brad Clifford really came alive this week as Clifford returned from injury. When healthy, he looks like Wynn's favorite tight end. Not that he's been needed, but where have you gone Jereme Brooks?
After putting up 68 points last week against Iowa State, a step back in offensive production had to be expected from the Utes. 431 yards is just below their season average. The offense was efficient, moving the ball almost at will. Keeping the turnovers limited has to be a priority going forward. Give a little bit of credit to the Wyoming defense for being opportunistic and taking advantage of the three Jordan Wynn interceptions, all of which were his fault.
After putting up 92 yards of total offense, Wyoming's offense hit a wall as Kalani Sitake and staff made the proper adjustments in holding the Cowboys to 91 yards in the final three quarters. Wyoming had 13 plays of negative yardage in the game. That's a huge number. The Utes picked up 3 sacks and added 10 negative yardage runs for Wyoming. It seemed like every time Wyoming got into a second or third and short, the Utes' defense picked it up and drove the Cowboys back for a loss.
Derrick Shelby finally got his first sack of the season. He was blown off the ball initially, but stuck with the play and Carta-Samuels landed in his lap. Good to see Shelby get that sack. If he can build on that going forward, he can be a force for the Utes. The defensive line, in general did a great job after a rough first quarter of closing off the running lanes and putting pressure on Carta-Samuels. They put together their best two quarter stretch of the season in the second and third quarters.
The linebackers continued to do what they've done all year; made the plays they had to make without any standouts or anything spectacular. After that first quarter, Wyoming couldn't find any running room and the linebackers were a big part of that.
The pass defense was fairly decent, but had a few breakdowns after Carta-Samuels broke up a long run early in the game. The adjustment to keep him from doing that again opened up the passing game a bit, but Wyoming continued to run for some reason, without much luck. Conroy Black needs to start putting an eye on the ball instead of just his receiver or he's going to get beat more and more as the Utes start taking on better teams with better receivers.
The second quarter is getting more and more ridiculous with each passing week as the Utes again shut-out their opponent in the quarter while putting up big points with 16. Utah has now outscored their opponents 117-7 in the second quarter on the year.
Just how good is Shaky Smithson? Two more long punt returns that he almost took for touchdowns and over 100 yards on four returns increasing his season average. The punt return blocking was great and gave Shaky more than enough room to run on each return.
Utah went on the road, against a middle of the pack Mountain West Conference team, and came away with a convincing victory. They did what they had to do to win at a place that most teams don't enjoy going to. It may not have been the sexy victory that the fans and pollsters want to see, but three teams ahead of the Utes lost over the weekend. As long as the Utes keep winning, and TCU remains undefeated, Utah is going to have a great shot at getting to the national championship game.
Utah Improves to 6-0 After Dominating Wyoming
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