Utah's offense erupted for its best performance of the season as the Utes cruised past Colorado State 49-16 Saturday afternoon. With the victory, Utah rolled to an 8-0 start for only the fourth time in school history. It also provided Utah a chance to rise in the rankings and boost their BCS hopes.
Entering the game, all eyes were on the Ute offense, which had struggled with consistency for pretty much the entire season. That changed, however, against the hapless Rams, as the Utes racked up a season-high 549 yards of total offense, much of which came on the ground. Brian Johnson, who had been steady, but far from great, had his best performance of the season as well, going 18 of 26 through the air for 185 yards and two touchdowns. However, it was quarterback Corbin Louks who stole the show, as he ran for a game-high 109 yards and two touchdowns.
While Utah's offense had its best day, the defense was solid as always. The Rams only managed to find the end zone once, on their first drive of the game, and had to settle for three field goals the rest of the way. As I thought they would, Colorado State opted to throw the ball, as Billy Farris went 19 of 33 for 166 yards. Gartrell Johnson, the leading back for the Rams, did manage to run for 95 yards on the day, slightly above his season average. But for the most part, the Colorado State offense couldn't develop much of a game, only managing 298 yards of total offense, well below their average of 351 a game.
Now Utah enters a bye week with pretty good momentum and the hardest part of their schedule left. The biggest question, of course, is whether or not the offense can continue to improve on its performance Saturday. When they do return to play in two weeks, they will face a fairly tough test with the New Mexico Lobos and this might give us a true idea of whether or not the Utes are ready to take the next step from being a good team to that great team we are all hoping to see. Right now, though, they've improved and that's the biggest thing to take away from this victory.
Finally, Utah has yet to have a letdown. This was one of the biggest concerns heading into the season, since I think most Ute fans felt Utah was capable of being a really good team, yet it was unclear if they had the consistency and discipline to make it through these types of games. Games they should not only win, but win going away. So far, the last two weeks especially, they have done just that. Because of this, they are 8-0 and rolling toward a BCS berth. But now is not the time to get complacent and hopefully the bye week will offer Utah a chance to plan accordingly for New Mexico. They'll need it.