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Utes near "complete" performance

Utes near "complete" performance

By Mike Wright | Posted - Oct. 29, 2010 at 10:28 p.m.



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah did exactly what was expected with its 59-6 home victory over Colorado State last week.

The Utes tallied 648 total yards offensively and held Colorado State to 213 total yards.

One word sums up the win: domination.

According to Utah Head Coach Kyle Whittingham, if the win over the Rams wasn't a "complete" performance, it was pretty close.

The eighth-ranked Utes are more than warmed up for the final five games of the season, and the next possible victim of the 2010 Ute train - Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The contest with Air Force is always a game that is circled on the schedule. Whether it's during a bye week, fall camp or even spring ball, the Utah defense prepares for Air Force.

Air Force's offense calls extra attention. It's not like any other offense the Utes will face this season. Utah has a solid defensive scheme that has worked against Air Force fairly well over the years.

In 2008, the Utes held the Falcons to only 53 yards rushing and 191 total yards. Last year, the Utes did OK, allowing 254 yards rushing on 75 attempts, which is 3.4 yards a rush. That's not bad for any defense against the high-powered Falcon offense.

Air Force has its most athletic quarterback in years, and probably the best offense its had in a long time. What makes Air Force's offense so effective is that it wears down opposing defenses. The Falcons lull their opponents to sleep before breaking loose for big gains and scores.

However, Utah's defense won't be the key to the game against Air Force. The key of the game will be Utah's offense.

Arguably, quarterback Jordan Wynn is coming off one of his best games all year. He completed 23 of 29 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns.

While Wynn was soild in the passing game, an army of Utah running backs ground out 234 yards. Against Air Force, the Utah offense will need Wynn to continue to execute as well as he did against Colorado State.

The Utes' offensive success will also rely on the play of its offensive line. The men up front will need to control the line of scrimmage and open up lanes for backs Eddie Wide and Matt Asiata.

One focus point for the offense, however, will be to control the clock. If the Ute offense is able to win the time-of-possession battle, the more fresh the Utah defense will stay as the game progresses. Controlling the clock will help the defense limit break downs due to fatigue.

On special teams, Shaky Smithson will need to bounce back. Against Colorado State he wasn't able to get anything going in the punt-return game, and the reason for that was Colorado State's punter. All of his punts had hang-times well past four seconds, making it nearly impossible for Smithson to do anything. Look for Smithson to have a much greater impact this game against Air Force.

Game Prediction: Utah circles the Air Force game every season, and perhaps the reason for this is because it takes a complete team effort to grind out a victory. If the Utah offense can control the clock and win the time of possession battle, look for the Utes to win comfortably.

The last four games against Air Force have come down to the final drive. Things will be different this year with the Utah offense at its most productive in the Coach Whit era.

Utah 27 Air Force 13

Go Utes!

Mike Wright

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