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Archive for Saturday, October 2, 2004

Utah remains unbeaten

Utes solid on offense, defense in 28-7 rout of Lobos

October 2, 2004

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— Quarterback Alex Smith was efficient, Steve Savoy was sure-handed, and Utah's defense was too quick for New Mexico.

That was a combination good enough to give undefeated Utah a dominating 28-7 victory over New Mexico on Friday night.

Smith ran for two touchdowns, and Savoy caught 11 passes for 150 yards. On defense, the 14th-ranked Utes (5-0, 2-0 Mountain West Conference) overwhelmed New Mexico's offensive line and made shambles of the Lobos' game plan.

"There's no doubt that they did their homework on us," New Mexico quarterback Kole McKamey said. "They definitely knew how to play us. They knew what was coming most of the time and if they didn't, they played hard enough to stop it anyway."

Utah has won nine straight dating to last season and is off to its best start since 1994.

New Mexico (2-3, 0-1) beat Utah 47-35 last year -- the Utes' last loss -- but this time the Utes were a step quicker on both sides of the line. New Mexico's only score came on Gabriel Fulbright's 68-yard return of a fumble by Smith with 10 seconds left in the first quarter.

"Actually the defense had a shutout," said Smith, a junior who is 14-1 as a starter. "Their touchdown was on me. When you have a defense like ours, it makes it easier."

Fulbright's touchdown was on a questionable no-call. Smith was hit by defensive end Michael Tuohy while attempting to pass. It appeared Smith's arm was going forward, but the officials didn't whistle the play dead, and Fulbright picked up the rolling ball and ran it in.

Utah's defense was so effective that New Mexico finished with 157 total yards and had more punts (14) than first downs (8). Utah had 466 total yards. A year ago, New Mexico had 633 total yards -- 407 on rushing -- in its win in Salt Lake City.

"We felt last year New Mexico beat us up front and tonight the opposite happened," Utah coach Urban Meyer said.

"The biggest change from last year is that there's no panic," Smith said. "We weren't in a rush to do anything."

McKamey completed just two of his first 14 passes, finished 7-of-22 for 83 yards, and spent much of the night trying to elude Utah defenders. When he did have time, he often overthrew open receivers.

The Lobos had just 74 yards rushing as halfback DonTrell Moore, the leading rusher in the conference, sat out because of a sprained ligament in his left knee.

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