In the second half the offense really started to come alive as the Utes put up 13 points in the third quarter and another 14 points in the fourth quarter. Leading the way was once again running back Brandon Warfield with 133 yards rushing on 23 carries (5.8 avg.). He gets my first game ball.
Also playing well, especially in the second half was the Utah offensive line. Since it is more of a total effort from the unit, they all get a game ball. Without their performance Utah's offense would have struggled in the second half too.
Not surprisingly, wide receiver Parish Warren had another big game with seven receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown. Counterpart Steve Savoy also had a big game with four receptions for 92 yards. Game balls to each.
While tight end Ben Moa did not have a big game in the passing game, but he was clutch catching a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Alex Smith that opened the scoring for the Utes in the third quarter. That play was huge and turned the tide of the game.
Speaking of Smith, after another big game that saw him go 17-22 for 273 yards and three touchdowns he definitely gets a game ball. He was on fire in the second half.
And how about the defense? They held a talented San Diego State attack under wraps all game long. Holding San Diego State to just six points is truly impressive.
While many defensive players did well on the afternoon, the play of the defensive line was especially important. They took up the blockers so that the linebackers and defensive backs could come up and make plays in the running game. They played their assignments well. Game ball to the entire defensive line.
Cornerback Eric Weddle definitely gets a game ball after registering 8 tackles and one interception. Weddle has really come on for the Utes.
Linebacker Ray Holdcraft paced the Utes in tackles with 12. He was a big part of the reason that the Aztecs only managed 49 net yards rushing. That's outstanding defense.
KEEPING THE AZTECS IN CHECK
Besides shutting down the San Diego State rushing attack, the Utes were also able to keep the Aztec passing game in check, in particular star wide receiver Jeff Webb, to just 203 yards and no touchdowns. Webb did have five receptions for 61 yards, but no reception longer than 19 yards. The Ute secondary did not give up a pass play of over 40 yards all game long.
The Aztecs were only 5-14 on third down conversions for the game, while the Utes were a solid 6-13. This helped lead to Utah's 33:04 to 26:56 advantage in time of possession.
Special teams play is always important and Utah punter Matt Kovacevich averaged 47.2 per boot. That led to several drives for the Aztecs being starting at or inside their own 20 yard line.