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New Mexico report card

Let's get this New Mexico game out of the way for we can look forward to beating BYU.

The Utes played well, especially when you consider New Mexico has owned the Utes as of late. The 18-point victory was pretty impressive, though Utah hardly played a flawless game. Which isn't a surprise, since the Lobos have given the Utes fits in the past.

Offense: B - The offense wasn't great, though they still managed over 300 yards on the game. I think Andy Ludwig sat on the playbook, knowing he'll need it Saturday against the Cougars. That left Utah with fairly conservative play calling.

Brian Johnson looked ok, but he did struggle throwing the ball deep. Whether that has more to do with the Lobos coverage or his injury isn't clear, but those passes will have to be completed for Utah to beat BYU. Other than that, he played well and didn't make nearly the amount of mistakes he did the last time Utah went up against New Mexico with him at quarterback. In that game, costly fumbles cost the Utes the game.

As for the running game, it wasn't nearly as dominant as in weeks past. That's ok, though, because Utah did what it needed to on the ground. Darrell Mack failed to crack 100 for the second consecutive week, but Utah still ran the ball for 138 yards -- Mack accounted for 77 of that.

Defense: A - Utah's defense was fantastic once again, giving up one touchdown on the night and that was on a short field after Johnson threw an interception. The Lobos' offense stunk it up and much of that credit goes to Utah. Rodney Ferguson -- one of the best backs in the conference -- was shut down, only running for 51 yards on the night. The Lobos could only muster 279 yards of total offense with 198 of it coming through the air. That defensive effort pretty much kept New Mexico out of the game, even when it appeared the Utes were in danger of losing it in the third quarter.

Robert Johnson once again came up big, forcing a fumble on the first play of the game. Had that not happened, the Lobos would have easily scored and the tone might have been dramatically different. Utah also recovered three other New Mexico fumbles, two of which were on Lobo punt returns. The fourth came on a sack by Paul Kruger, which resulted in a Koa Misi touchdown -- all but putting New Mexico away.

Special Teams: B+ - The special teams were solid, though Louie Sakoda did miss a field goal. Utah's punt coverage didn't give up many big plays, while also forcing the Lobos to fumble twice -- both recovered by the Utes.

Coaching: B+ - Can't ask for a better coached game because Utah did what they were expected to do. In fact, if you go by Vegas Odds, Utah did more than they were predicted to do (as they were favored to win by 14 and won by 18). The Utes beat a team that had historically been tough and did so in comfortable fashion. It wasn't always pretty, but games against New Mexico rarely are. Now Utah can look to BYU and hopefully reclaim its status as the top program in the state.