The wind wasn't the only thing that blew through Laramie Saturday afternoon...
Ha! I always wanted to start out a story like that...
Anyway, the Utes walked to victory over the Cowboys this weekend, defeating them 40-7 and improving to 7-0 on the season. And while there is much to gripe about, mostly on the offensive side of the ball, there were some positives.
Firstly, this was a trap game. The Utes were coming off an emotionally exhausting win last Thursday over Oregon State and were facing a team that probably still remembered last year's wild events. Add in the fact Joe Glenn essentially needed a win to have any hopes of keeping his job and you've got the makings for a perfect upset. Utah did not allow that to happen, however.
Maybe it was because the Cowboys are just a really bad team, or maybe the team has finally figured out how to get past letdown games, regardless, Utah won and did so in blowout fashion and without any injuries. You can't really ask for more than that, right?
Defensively, Utah played well. That isn't a surprise, since they've had a damn good defense the entire season. Of course, a lot of that had to do with the fact Wyoming's offense was just pathetic. Entering the game, the Cowboys were averaging eight points a game and Utah held them below that...by a point. The Utes also held them to 252 total yards on the day and a big bulk of that came in the final quarter against Utah scrubs. In fact, the Cowboys could never mount a sustained drive until the end and even then, their lone touchdown catch was shown to have happened out of bounds. But we won't complain about that.
Not surprisingly, Wyoming couldn't get much done through the air. Karsten Sween was 8 of 18 for 52 yards and threw three interceptions. Though the quarterback to lead Wyoming on its lone scoring drive was Chris Stutzriem, so maybe they can throw him in there as starter next week since they've lined up just about everyone under center this year.
Wyoming did do a bit better on the ground, running for 184 yards, with Devin Moore leading the way for 106, but that's about it. The Cowboys turned the ball over five times, which has been the story of the season for Wyoming.
Utah's good defensive effort really helped compensate for a pretty poor offensive performance. And that's where things get less positive.
The only thing consistent about Utah's offense this season is its inability to really put a dominant effort out there on the football field. Maybe we fans just need to concede the offense just isn't that explosive and will only make the plays when they need to be made, but that's about it. Saturday, Utah's offense didn't move much, even on the ground and against Wyoming's pretty poor defense, this has to be a mild concern.
Of course, the Utes didn't turn the ball over once on offense, so they are moving in the right direction there. Maybe it's small steps, though you've got to wonder how much of the gameplan was to play it conservative because of the possible adverse weather conditions, since I'm not sure the players played all that bad, especially Brian Johnson, who went 10 of 19 and threw for 110 yards.
Believe it or not, Corbin Louks was Utah's leading rusher, going for 50. He was followed by Matt Asiata with 37. The team managed 123 yards on the ground, which is less than I expected, since the Cowboys have one of the worst rush defenses in the country, but oh well.
The bottom line is this: The Utes are 7-0 and it doesn't matter how they win, just as long as they continue to win. Kyle Whittingham admits Utah isn't playing their best ball and hopefully now that we're in the second half of the season they will. If they do, this team is going to be scary good. If they don't, well we just have to hope they continue finding ways to win.