It wasn't the prettiest win they've ever had, but with its victory over San Diego State on Saturday, the University of Utah couldn't complain about the results. With the win, the Utes extended their winning streak to three games, and finally got their first conference victory of the season.
Here are some highlights of the more interesting subplots in the Utah victory:
The Utes punished the Aztecs on the ground, racking up 282 rushing yards for the game. Junior Darrell Mack led the way with 131 yards on the ground, and set the tone for the entire offense with a bruising running style. For the second consecutive game, the Utah offensive line looked solid, dominating the San Diego State front seven.
It's apparent that the key to a strong finish will be Utah's ability to maintain a strong rushing attack. Mack has been a godsend for this offense, and Utah will need to rely on him to finish strong.
The contributions of Utah freshmen continue to be a major story for this year's Ute team, and Saturday's contest against the Aztecs was no exception. Quarterback Corbin Louks had a huge game, rushing for 47 yards on three carries, and throwing for an 11 yard touchdown to freshman Jereme Brooks.
On the defensive side, linebacker Nai Fotu made waves with a sack and a crushing hit of Atiy Henderson in the third quarter. Fotu has a high motor and if he can become a more rounded player, has the makings to be a superstar in Salt Lake City. With Kyle Brady being out for the year, look for Fotu to have an increased role as the season progresses.
Overall, seven true freshmen played in the game including Louks, Brooks, Fotu, Dallin Rogers, Jamel King, Eddie Wide, and Justin Taplin-Ross.
His dubious passing skills notwithstanding, Louie Sakoda is making a strong case that he is the best kicker in college football. Sakoda's field goals kept the Utes up on SDSU as the offense sputtered early, and he continues to be one of Utah's most effective weapons.
The Bottom Line
Although the Utes failed to capitalize on several scoring opportunities that would have extended the point differential, they still dominated the Aztecs in virtually every aspect of the game. Overall, a win is a win, and the Utes will need three more of them to be in contention to play in a bowl game. They leave the game with a victory and relatively healthy coming up on a short week before the TCU road trip, which is about all any Ute fan could ask.