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No. 9 Utah believes it can still get better

No. 9 Utah believes it can still get better

By Associated Press | Posted - Oct. 22, 2010 at 6:44 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The ninth-ranked Utah Utes are 6-0 for the third time in seven years but they believe the best is yet to come.

As Utah (3-0 Mountain West Conference) prepares for Saturday's game against Colorado State (2-5, 1-2), the seventh opponent in a row without a winning record, the Utes say they haven't been their best on the field just yet.

"We haven't shown a whole lot of the playbook yet, to be honest," quarterback Jordan Wynn said. "We still keep a lot in reserve. We have a group of plays that we are real comfortable with and we have some extras just in case."

Despite the straightforward approach, nobody has been able to stop the Utes' high-flying attack yet. Wynn has thrown for 962 yards and nine touchdowns while playing in less than four full games because of a thumb injury. Utah leads the conference and is fourth in the nation in scoring offense at 45.8 points per game.

Meanwhile, Utah's passing defense is also ranked in the top 10 nationally, though opponents often throw more than usual to try to keep pace with Utah's offensive fireworks.

"We are just starting to mesh together as a defense. We made some mistakes early on in the season but we have a real sense of unity and we're getting better," cornerback Brandon Burton said.

CSU has lost six of seven against Utah but the Rams have shown some improvement recently. Last week, Colorado State blasted UNLV 43-10. QB Pete Thomas is already CSU's all-time freshman passing leader and has thrown for seven touchdowns and just one interception over his last 110 attempts.

"We're obviously pleased with our performance last Saturday. Mainly, it was all three phases playing more consistently than we had in any previous game this season. We were far from perfect. Still have a lot of improvement in every area, but we showed there is hope for us coming together," Colorado State coach Steve Fairchild said.

For the Rams' hopes to grow, they say they must run the football effectively and complete some throws down the field against Utah's man coverage.

"They run a lot of double moves and try some deep balls, so the secondary is really going to have to cover deep this game and stay on balance," Burton said.

CSU will be trying to snap a Utes home winning streak that stands at 20 games and is the third longest in the country behind Oklahoma (34) and Boise State (28).

The Utes insist they aren't looking beyond the CSU game to upcoming showdowns against Air Force, No. 4 TCU and Notre Dame. Rams playmakers like nose tackle Guy Miller, who set a school record with 4.5 sacks last week, have the Utes' full attention.

"We respect every opponent. They're a capable team. They proved it last year against us -- that was a dogfight," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said, referring to the Utes' come-from-behind 24-17 victory.

The Rams and Utes will play their final game for the foreseeable future, as Utah moves to the new Pac-12 in 2011. Utah leads the series 54-22-2 and the Rams would like nothing more than to stun the Utes on their way out.

"It would be nice to beat Utah for a lot of reasons. No. 1, they are a very good football program, well-coached, and consistently at the top of our league. That's what we aspire to do here at Colorado State," Fairchild said.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Associated Press

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