Estimated read time: 11-12 minutes
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FINAL - Utah 49 Colorado State 16
How can a football team play a complete game? See Utah's game against Colorado State for future reference. Utah finally had a great offensive, defensive and special teams game as the Utes defeated the Colorado State Rams 49 - 16.
It was reminiscent of the 2004 team as the offense racked up nearly 550 total yards and the defense held the Rams to 298 yards. Corbin Louks lead all rushers with 109 yards on 5 carries, while Brian Johnson finished the game 18-26 for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Next up for the Utes: at New Mexico (November 1st)
Next up for the Rams: at San Diego State (Oct 25th)
9:30 4th Quarter
Utah forced Colorado State to punt again. The defense has really buckled down since that first CSU drive that went for a touchdown.
Corbin Louks is FAST! Utah's backup QB used his speed to break out a 69 yard touchdown run on the right side. Look for Utah to start playing backups on both sides of the ball for the rest of the game.
Score: Utah 49 Colorado State 16
14:11 4th Quarter
Utah forces a quick CSU 3 and out. After 2 rushes, the 3rd quarter ends and Utah will now move with the wind.
The reverse turns out to be a great playcall by offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig as Jeremy Brooks leaps over the goal line after a 34 yard run (career long). Fatigue is setting in on CSU's defense.
Now with a big deficit, the Rams will be forced to throw the ball.
Score: Utah 42 Colorado State 16
2:20 3rd Quarter
Utah is unable to consistently move the ball here in the second half. And after another Louie Sakoda punt, 2 15 yard penalties against Elijah Wesson (fair catch interference, personal foul late hit) give the Rams great field position near mid-field.
The Rams are now in Utah territory again and have the momentum on their side.
A great defensive play by the Utes gives the Utes the ball back on their own 49 yard line. Paul Krueger hit Billy Ferris on the throw, and LB Chaz Walker made a great play on the ball to intercept the pass.
Utah is finally able to move the ball in the second half. Corbin Louks keeps the ball on a run to the left side and takes it in from 21 yards out. On the drive, Utah ran the ball 5 times, and each run was for 6 yards or more.
Score: Utah 35 Colorado State 16
7:36 3rd Quarter
CSU is still trying to stretch the Ute secondary. Facing a 2nd and 5 and 3rd and 5, CSU elects to try the deep pass, in which one is overthrown and the second is broken up on a great defensive swat by Stevenson Sylvester.
Aiona Key is making the most of his appearances in games. He blocked a Anthony Hartz punt, but the ball still was able to bounce 26 yards. Nevertheless, great field position for the Utes near mid-field.
The Ute offense was unable to get a first down on their first possession of the second half, and Sakoda's punt is fair caught inside the 15 yard line.
Colorado State is putting a nice drive together. Gartrell Johnson is finding some nice open holes to run through, and the Rams received a favorable 15 yard pass interference penalty on Utah. Utah finally is able to get to Ferris, sacking him on 3rd down after a play-action fake. On 4th down, Jason Smith hit a 52 yard field goal to bring the Rams within 12 (career long, pvs. long was 49 yards against New Mexico in 2006).
Score: Utah 28 Colorado State 16
Halftime - Utah 28 Colorado State 13
Colorado State was able to run their own 2 minute offense, driving deep into Utah territory. Jason Smith hit a 37 yard field goal as time expired. Offensively, the Utes look like a completely different team than the one we saw last week against Wyoming. Utah has been able to run and pass the ball effectively. Other than the interception, Johnson looks sharp, going 16-20 for 168 yards and 2 TDs. The Utes have piled up 108 yards on the ground. Also, the Utes had the ball 2 more minutes than the Rams.
Defensively, the Utes have been relatively solid. Other than getting torched by Ram QB Billy Ferris on the opening drive, they have settled down, only giving up 2 field goals since (1 was due to the Rams having excellent field position inside the Utah 20 yard line).
On special teams, Sakoda's only punt of the first half pinned the Rams on their own 6 yard line. He has been perfect on PATs. Ben Vroman has been great on kickoffs as well.
1:18 2nd Quarter
After the Utes forced the Rams to punt, Utah ran the 2 minute offense perfectly, driving 75 yards in just 4 plays. Johnson passed to David Reed from 33 yards out for the TD.
Score: Utah 28 Colorado State 10
4:09 2nd Quarter
Darrell Mack is earning his carries today. He is fighting hard for extra yards on every play. After moving into CSU territory, Corbin Louks threw a 37 yard pass to David Reed giving the Utes the ball inside the 5 yard line. Reed made an excellent jump catch over the CSU corner as the ball was placed a little short. 2 plays later, Matt Asiata takes the direct snap in from 3 yards out.
Score: Utah 21 Colorado State 10
7:00 2nd Quarter
After the punt, Utah is able to move the ball to the 50 on a great outside run by Corbin Louks. CSU's defense was then able to put the clamp down on Utah's offense, forcing Utah into a 3rd and 8 which the Utes were unable to convert. Sakoda punts the ball down to the CSU 6 yard line.
Deep in their own territory, CSU tries to get its running game going. However, the Utes were able to hold them in check, forcing a 3 and out. Through 3 offensive possessions, CSU has only managed 16 yards on the ground so far.
With great field position, Johnson throws a terrible pass which was easily intercepted by CB Nick Oppenneer. Oppenneer returned the interception 55 yards down into Utah territory. Utah's defense holds, but CSU is able to get a 25 yard field goal by Jason Smith off the turnover.
Score: Utah 14 Colorado State 10
End of 1st Quarter
This is the defining drive I was looking for the Utes to put together. 12 plays, 79 yards capped off with a 3 yard Matt Asiata direct snap TD run. On every play, Utah was able to gain yards (1 incompletion, but a late hit called on CSU gave Utah a first down and moved half the distance toward the goal).
Two things I've noticed so far in this game. Utah is using a variation of the pistol offense and are having a lot of success against CSU's 4-3 defense. Utah is utilizing its offensive speed very well. Also, Johnson is throwing the ball on 3 step drops, not allowing the Rams to pressure him.
Utah forces CSU to a 4th and 16 on 3 straight great defensive plays.
Score: Utah 14 Colorado State 7
7:59 1st Quarter
Utah had Colorado State right where they wanted them, but CSU continued to make big play after big play to get the touchdown. On 3rd and 12, Ferris completed a pass to Raushan Greer for 42 yards. On 4th and 3, Ferris completed a 3 yard pass to Dion Morton for 3 yards. And to complete the drive, on 3rd and 9 Ferris completed a 29 yard pass to Dion Morton for the touchdown. Ferris threw the deep out route 3 times on the drive, and each time Utah was in man coverage. Utah will need to adjust and move the safety over, which may open up the run game for CSU.
Score: Utah 7 Colorado State 7
12:38 1st Quarter
Colorado State won the toss and elected to defer to the second half. Utah will start the game on offense, which is their biggest weakness on this team. After a poor kickoff that went out of bounds, Utah will start on their own 40 yard line.
Utah didn't squander the great field position. They drove 60 yards in 6 plays, capped off with a 32 yard TD pass to Freddie Brown. The pass had to be thrown perfectly as Brown was closely covered by CSU's secondary. The ball was placed right over his left shoulder and Brown made a great diving catch in the end zone. Utah did a great job getting the ball quickly out of Johnson's hands for every pass play but the TD pass. Utah utilized the screen pass and 3 step drop efficiently.
Score: Utah 7 Colorado State 0**My Prediction** The Utes and Rams always seem to have close, hard fought games. Now with Steve Fairchild as Head Coach, the Rams have renewed their vigor and intensity and will be ready to play a tough game against the Utes.
The Utes have continued to find ways to win, and seem to play best with their backs up against the wall. Consider the BYU/TCU game as a wake-up call for the Utes. Coach Whittingham will make sure his team is ready to play.
Colorado State will score first, mixing it up offensively with QB Billy Ferris making some nice throws and RB Gartrell Johnson showing his toughness. Utah will struggle offensively early against a tough Ram defense. In the second quarter I think Utah will finally find a rhythm and be able to move the ball the length of the field. Expect Utah to score most of their points in the 2nd and 3rd quarter.
MY PREDICTION: Utah 37 Colorado State 17 . Let me know what you think. Post your predictions/questions in the comment board.
Keys to the Game for Utah
- Set the tempo of the game - Utah will need to control the clock and keep Colorado State's running game off the field
- Get playmakers involved - Utah will need to find more ways to get Brent Casteel and Jeremy Brooks the ball. Look for the Utes to try to get them involved using the short slant routes and the WR option
- Stop the run - CSU RB Gartrell Johnson is averaging over 80 yards a game. Utah will need to continue dominating the run and force CSU into 3rd and more than 7 yard situations.
Keys to the Game for Colorado State
- Pressure Brian Johnson - it may sound like a broken record with me always saying the other team needs to pressure BJ, but the fact of the matter is that he does not handle pressure very well. CSU can generate momentum via turnovers and sacks that could help them build an early lead.
- Win the turnover battle - CSU's defense will need to force Utah turnovers, giving their offense short fields to work with.
- Don't get down early. CSU's offense is a run first, pass second offense. If Utah can build a big lead early, CSU will be forced to get away from their strength and be forced to throw the ball first.
Utah Miscellaneous Stats
- Utah is averaging 37.6 points per game, which if it holds up, would rank as the fourth-best scoring average by a Ute team since 1892. Kicker Louie Sakoda leads the scoring with 73 points and running back Matt Asiata is second with 48. In third is the combination of defense/special teams with 24 points.
- Since 2000, Utah has more wins against BCS schools (15) than any non-BCS team. Utah is 15-10 against BCS teams since 2000 (10-3 since 2004).
- The Utes are on a record pace for home attendance, averaging 45,434 in their three games.
- The Utes' best overall quarter is the third, when they are out-scoring opponents 62-9
- Utah ranks third in the nation in time of possession (33:50)
- Utah is tied for 11th in the nation in red zone offense, scoring on 29-of-32 (91%) of its trips inside the 20.
- Senior Brian Johnson, with a 20-7 record as Utah's starter, is one win shy of the school record held by Alex Smith, who was 21-1 from 2003-04.
- Utah is ranked in the top-15 in the nation in four defensive categories this week. The Utes are fourth in opponent first downs (96), seventh in total defense (259.14), eighth in rushing defense (82.43), and 14th in tackles for loss (7.57).
- DE Paul Kruger is tied for first in the nation in tackles for loss (12.5). He ranks seventh nationally in tackles for loss per game (1.79).
- Utah is second in the nation in punt coverage (-0.57 yards per return). Opponents have just seven returns for minus four yards.