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Instant observations on Utah's rout of Colorado State

Tom Smart, Deseret News

Instant observations on Utah's rout of Colorado State

By Robert Jackson | Posted - Dec. 20, 2014 at 6:02 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 Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information.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.

LAS VEGAS — There is a lot of football history for Utah and Colorado State, regularly meeting as conference foes for 63 years. But for the last three seasons, the Utes and Rams didn't play, largely due to Utah moving on to the Pac-12.

In the two teams' first meeting since 2010, Utah exerted its dominance Saturday, cruising by Colorado State 45-10 in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Utah has now won six straight against Colorado State.

The win improves Utah's final 2014 record to 9-4, vastly exceeding preseason expectations and sets the Utes up for what could be a very surprising 2015 campaign.

Here are a few quick thoughts on the Utes' bowl win over the Rams.

Kudos to... -----------

Quarterback Travis Wilson earned MVP honors by accounting for four touchdowns, one through the air and three on the ground.

Kyle Whittingham improved to 8-1 in bowl games as head coach of the Utes, tying for the highest all-time bowl winning percentage with John Robinson (minimum seven wins). The win also improved the Utes to 9-4 this season, marking the fifth nine-win season in Whittingham's tenure at Utah.

Devontae Booker had quite the 2014 campaign. Despite not starting through the first four games for the Utes, Booker finished the season with 1512 rushing yards, just seven yards shy of the single season record 1519 attained by John White IV. Booker rushed 26 times for 162 yards and a touchdown against Colorado State.

Nate Orchard ended his season with 18.5 sacks, a school record. He totaled 25 career sacks with the Utes, which is third best in school history.

Bright future

While the big names played a big role in the Utes' win, some younger players got into the action and proved their mettle.

Freshman running back Troy McCormick had a career high 86 yards on just five carries, including a long of 49 yards.

Sophomore Delshawn McClellon caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Travis Wilson in the first quarter.

In in what was a surprising development, quarterback Jason Thompson, who had to sit out the 2014 regular season after transferring from Wyoming, was eligible to participate in the bowl game after completing all of his coursework at the U. Thompson played special teams coverage and was instrumental in the Utes' first offensive play of the game - a reverse from Devontae Booker to Thompson, who then lateraled the ball to Travis Wilson who then completed a downfield pass to Kaelin Clay for a gain of 36 yards.

Defensive dominance

Just how good was Utah's defensive performance against Colorado State?

The Utes held the Rams to just 12 yards rushing, a Utah team bowl record for fewest rushing yards. Colorado State came into the game averaging 171.58 yards per game on the ground.

In addition, Utah held Colorado State to just 10 points, a season low for the Rams, who were averaging 35.9 points per game.

Robert Jackson is the cross platform sports and weather producer for ksl.com and KSL-TV.

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