It wasn't perfect, but Utah did what it needed to do and that's a start. After blowing a should win against UNLV a week after stunning 11th ranked UCLA, the Utes came out and pounded the Aztecs a week and one day after their impressive victory at Louisville.
It could have been better, but a win is a win and I'll take it. Especially after what they did against the Rebels a few weeks ago.
The offense didn't play nearly as well as it did last Friday against Louisville. However, it really didn't need to. Clearly the coaches were content with just running the ball down the Aztecs' throat and it paid off. The Utes finished the night with 282 yards on the ground, with Darrell Mack going for 131. Utah, when Mack runs for over 100 yards, is now 4-0. They're 0-3 when he fails to reach the century mark.
Brian Johnson didn't look too bad, though he did throw for an interception. On the day he finished with 220-yards on 22-29 passing. Utah's offense also racked up 514 yards, but only scored 23-points and squandered a few opportunities to score in the first half. The worst being on their first drive of the game, which ended with Mack fumbling the ball in the end zone, resulting in a touchback for the Aztecs. San Diego State couldn't capitalize, however, as Utah's defense played phenomenal.
Utah's defense was fantastic Saturday afternoon. Not only did they hold the Aztecs to only 7-points, they kept them to only 149-yards through the air and even worse 62-yards on the ground. The play of the day, though, goes to Nai Fotu, who crushed Atiyyah Henderson late in the third quarter.
Even though Utah has struggled this year, their defense has played far better than anyone could have ever imagined. If the offense continues to improve, the Utes will be very difficult to beat this year.
Special Teams: B Louie! Louie! Sakoda scored Utah's first 6 points -- including an impressive 51-yard field goal -- and finished it up with two extra points. It would have been a perfect day had he not tossed a pretty bad pass on a fake in the second half. That play design was impressive, the execution, however, was not. Utah's kick return looked pretty good Saturday, giving Utah good field position on most every Aztec punt.
Coaching: B Utah's coaches didn't overlook the Aztecs and after a slow first half, got things rolling in the second. The last time San Diego State came to Salt Lake, they beat up on the Utes, so a win wasn't a guarantee. And after a difficult first half, it looked as if that would be the case. However, the coaching staff did something I've constantly questioned, they made halftime adjustments. Even though Utah wasn't explosive in the second half, their offense looked far more sharp and that was the difference. Kudos to the coaching staff and hopefully they really have turned a corner.
San Diego State was easy, now they must travel, on a short week, to face TCU. The Frogs aren't having the season they were expecting, but they will prove to be a real test for these Utes. If Utah can get out of that game with a win, I don't see why anyone shouldn't expect the Utes to enter their game against BYU 8-3.