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September 25, 2010

Utes spank Spartans

With quarterback Jordan Wynn returning to the starting lineup, 13th-ranked Utah ran its home winning streak to 20 with a dominating 56-3 win over San Jose State in front of another sellout crowd at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

With at least three teams ranked above them in the polls losing on Saturday, the Utes have a good chance to be ranked in the top 10 when the new polls come out on Sunday.

Utah looked every bit like a top 10 team against the Spartans, playing an almost perfect game with no turnovers and just one penalty, a false start in the 4th quarter. The only blemish was a blown assignment on a kickoff return in the 1st quarter. That led to a 71-yard return for SJSU, which turned into a 20-yard field goal for the Spartans - their only points of the game.

It didn't take long for the Utes to get on the scoreboard, after forcing a punt with a 3-and-out on SJSU's first possession, Utah scored on its first play from scrimmage. Jordan Wynn took the snap and handed off to Eddie Wide running right. He then pitched it to Reggie Dunn running left on the reverse, who took it 43-yards for the touchdown. "We had been working on that play for two weeks now," Dunn said, "I got a good pitch from Eddie Wide and as soon as I caught it, I knew I was gone."

After the big kickoff return and subsequent field goal by the Spartans, it was all Utah after that, the Utes outscoring SJSU 28-0 in the second quarter to go up 35-3 at the half.

Utah's second quarter touchdowns came in a variety of ways, starting with a 10-yard scoring toss from Wynn to Shawn Asiata, followed quickly by a 10-yard punt return by Reggie Topps on perhaps the most bizarre play of the game.

Spartan quarterback Jordan La Secla tried a running, rugby-style kick that hit one of his teammates in the back of the helmet. Topps scooped it up at the 10-yard line and strolled in for the score that made it 21-3 at the 12:35 mark of the second quarter.

Three minutes later, after Mike Honeycutt blocked a punt, Eddie Wide capped off a short 3-play, 24-yard drive with his third touchdown of the season, from eight yards out. After another SJSU three-and-out, the Utes then went 82 yards in 11 plays for their fifth score of the night, the drive culminating in a 36-yard touchdown pass from Wynn to sophomore tight end Dallin Rogers.

The Utah starters didn't last long in the second half, backup quarterback Terrance Cain, who played two very good games against UNLV and New Mexico, came in for the Utes' second possession of the third quarter. Backups played most of the rest of the third and all of the fourth quarter as head coach Kyle Whittingham was able to empty his bench against the outmanned Spartans.

Scoring second-half touchdowns for Utah were senior running back Matt Asiata on a 1-yard run in the third quarter, and backup running backs Tauni Vakapuna and Beau Burton in the fourth quarter. The score for Vakapuna was his second in a Utah uniform, for Burton, a freshman from Scottsdale, Arizona, his first.

"It was a great effort by our team," stated Whittingham. "We played an exceptionally clean game. Jordan Wynn looked good and was sharp."

After sitting out the last two games with a sprained thumb on his throwing hand, Wynn finished with 124 passing yards on 14-of-18 with two touchdowns in a little more than two quarters of work. His favorite target was senior wide receiver Jereme Brooks who wound up with 5 catches for 44 yards.

The leading rusher for the Utes was Eddie Wide, the senior from Las Vagas finishing with 61 yards on 8 carries and a touchdown. In all, nine players carried the ball for Utah, including punter Sean Sellwood who picked up 17 yards on a fake punt in the first quarter.

The Utes have a bye this coming week, followed by a trip to Ames, Iowa on October 9th to take on the Iowa State Cyclones of the Big 12 conference. After that, a trip to Wyoming is on the schedule for October 16th before Utah's next home game, on the 23rd against Colorado State.

GAME NOTES:

* Utah's 20 straight home wins is the third-longest in the country.
* The Utes have now scored 56 points in back-to-back games.
* Utah's 272 yards rushing is a season high.
* For the second week in a row, senior cornerback Lamar Chapman led the team in tackles. Both he and junior linebacker Matt Martinez had six tackles.
* The three teams that were ranked ahead of the Utes that lost on Saturday are: #7 Texas, (34-12 to UCLA), #10 Arkansas, (24-20 to #1) Alabama, and #12 South Carolina, (35-27 to #17 Auburn).


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