Utah State isn't very good and Utah proved that Saturday night with a crushing 48-0 win over the outmanned Aggies. The victory was the largest margin in the rivalry's 106 year history and matched the most points Utah has ever put up on Utah State (the Utes scored 48 in 2004). What's more, the Utes even dominated the stands at USU's Romney Stadium, where red was more prevalent than Aggie blue. And if it couldn't get worse for USU, this was the second straight game they were shut out and the third straight game without an offensive touchdown. USU is hurting and a visit from the Utes didn't do much to help their ailment.
On the 3rd play of the game, Utah's Eric Shyne intercepted a Leon Jackson pass and ran it back for a touchdown, which set the tone for the entire night. Utah's offense continued to improve after struggling in week one against UCLA, putting up 400 total yards. Brett Ratliff completed 18 of 26 passes for 182-yards and 3 touchdown passes, while the Utes had a solid balance with their running game. Outside of Ratliff -- Utah's leading rusher against USU -- Darrell Mack had 44-yards on 9 carries while starting running back Darryl Poston had 29-yards on 8 carries. R.J. Stanford and Ray Stowers combined for 47-yards on 10 carries. Mike Liti, who is expected to alternate the starting position with Poston, did not play as he continues to nurse a rib injury.
On defense the Utes pitched their first shutout since blanking Southern Mississippi in the 2003 Liberty Bowl. It was also their first shutout against the Aggies since a 19-0 victory in 1990. The Utes forced 6 USU turnovers, 5 more than they had on the entire season. Utah's defensive line also shut down arguably Utah State's best offensive weapon in Marcus Cross, who only had 27-yards on the ground. The Aggies however were completely abysmal on offense, only getting 98 total yards and that was a testament to Utah's unyielding defense.
It was a solid effort by the Utes and they got the job done, defeating an always pesky rival. While it's still not clear where the Utes stand this season, progress has been made. With this victory over Utah State, the Utes run their winning streak against the Aggies to 9-straight and also climb one game above .500 on the season. Next week the Utes open conference play against San Diego State on the road. The contest will be the Utes first true test since the UCLA game and a win could put them on the cusp of the top-25 heading into their showdown with recently ranked Boise State.