We knew the Utes would roll the San Jose St. Spartans - we just didn't know how they'd look doing it. By all accounts, they looked pretty damn good. Especially when you consider Jordan Wynn was making his first start since the season opening win over Pittsburgh.
The Utes were nearly flawless in the 56-3 victory and scored the most dominant win of the Kyle Whittingham era. That's a huge step in the right direction for a program that, even in 2008, had some head-scratching close calls. Saturday, the game was pretty much over after the first quarter.
Of course, the most important part of Saturday's game, outside of the win, was the progress we saw in terms of turnovers. Utah was a turnover machine a week prior and the coaches said it would be a point of emphasis leading up to the Spartans game. It paid off, as the Utes finished with zero turnovers.
They also finished with almost no penalties, which is a rare accomplishment for a Kyle Whittingham team. All in all, not a bad outing. Hopefully they can carry this over into their game against Iowa State after the bye week.
The grades after the jump...
Offense: A - A week after producing their best offensive performance of the year, the team one-upped themselves. It was a pretty solid performance on the offensive end. Surely the best we've seen since the great 2008 season ended. That is to be expected, though, because they were facing an awful team, but it's still nice to see. Especially with the team transitioning Wynn back into the offense.
Utah finished the night with 427 total yards of offense and Wynn eased back into the starting role by completing 14 of 18 passes for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was solid performance and I expect Wynn to only improve the more snaps he gets.
I've mentioned a few times lately that I am really liking how deep this offense really is. That was on full display Saturday when, out of nowhere, Reggie Dunn had a 43 yard run for the score on the first play of the game.
Beyond just Dunn, we saw Shawn Asiata record his first touchdown, while Dallin Rogers was second to Jereme Brooks in receiving yards. They really know how to spread the ball around and that's going to make this a very difficult offense to stop.
I also liked the established run game. Matt Asiata and Eddie Wide looked like the backs we expected heading into the season, as both produced a combined 112 yards and they were pretty evenly distributed between both (Wide had 61, Asiata 51). That's what I wanted heading into the game and it was nice to see.
Defense: A - Like the offense, I can't help but praise the defense for their effectiveness. They held the Spartans to their lowest total yards of the season (172) and if it weren't for a special teams mistake, probably would have shut them out. Even then, they stepped up and forced San Jose State into a field goal after a kickoff return positioned them well into Utah territory.
After that, the Spartans never once really sniffed the Utes' end zone again and the defense continues to prove just how effective it is at reloading. In three games, they've only allowed one touchdown. That is impressive no matter who the competition. Especially in a blowout where team defenses often become complacent and allow the opposing offense one decent drive.
That never happened Saturday.
They also had three sacks and I always love when the defense finds enough pressure and can get to the quarterback.
Special Teams: B-plus - I wanted to give them an A because the special teams played pretty solid for most of the game. However, I knocked 'em down to a B-plus because of the faulty kickoff coverage after Utah scored early in the game. It allowed the Spartans their only points and was the difference between a truly dominant 56-0 win and what we eventually got.
Not that I'm complaining, of course, because this was the most abysmal part of the team the first two weeks. However, they've really worked on their mistakes and because of it, we've seen probably the best two-game stretch for the special teams in the Whittingham era.
- Aaron Roderick: A - I had no problem with the play calling. You can't really screw up too much when you're going against a totally outmatched defense, but the offense did what it had to do to exploit the turnovers and weaknesses from San Jose State. The offense all around was pretty impressive.
- Kalani Sitake: A - Again, I can't say enough about the defense. Sitake is coaching his boys up and is proving to be one helluva a defensive coordinator. But we expected the defense to come along quickly with who Utah's head coach was. I just don't think we expected them to be this good early in the season.
- Kyle Whittingham: A - It's always tough getting your team up for these types of games and Whittingham has done it three weeks in a row now. That's what he has to do to get Utah through these next few weeks because the schedule is not difficult at all. He does it as well as he has the last three weeks and there is no reason the Utes shouldn't be undefeated heading into the Air Force game.