Utah Utes football: Near-flawless performance gives Utes something to shout about
Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's 56-3 homecoming win over San Jose State wasn't televised.
Execution in all three phases of the game, including no turnovers and just one penalty for five yards, lifted Utah to its 20th consecutive victory at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
"I thought it was a great effort by our players," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "They played an exceptionally clean game."
So clean, in fact, that the Utes didn't have a single penalty until a false start call on their final series of the game.
Whittingham, for obvious reasons, was pleased to come oh-so-close to being penalty free.
"That was good. We've been stressing that ever since week one when we had a bunch of penalties," Whittingham said. "Each week it's gotten less and less."
It was among a handful of positives for the Utes.
"All three phases were clicking tonight," Whittingham said. "We were pleased with all the production on offense and defense and special teams."
Quarterback Jordan Wynn, who missed two games with a thumb sprain on his throwing hand, resumed his role as Utah's starter. The sophomore completed 14-of-18 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
"My arm felt good," Wynn said. "It was good to be back out there and I'm happy to get a solid team win."
It didn't take long for Utah to get on the scoreboard. After the defense held San Jose State to three plays and a punt, the Utes used a little trickery on their first play from scrimmage — and it paid off.
Sophomore Reggie Dunn ran 43 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown on a reverse, after taking a handoff from running back Eddie Wide.
"We wanted get Reggie Dunn the ball in his hands and he made the most of it," Whittingham said. "He's fast. He's maybe the fastest guy on the team."
The play took just 10 seconds to complete and gave the Utes a lead they never surrendered.
"We had been working on that play for two weeks now," Dunn said. "I got a good pitch from Eddie Wide and as soon as I caught it, I knew I was gone."
In the seconds that followed, there was a very brief momentum shift.
San Jose State's Brandon Driver returned the ensuing kickoff 71 yards to the Utah 20-yard line. The Spartans eventually moved into a first-and-goal situation from the 5, but failed to move forward. They lost a yard on first down before back-to-back incomplete passes. That led to a 20-yard field goal by Waid Harrison with 8:24 left in the first quarter.
Through four games, Utah's defense has given up just three touchdowns.
"We've been in pretty tight spots a couple of times this season," said defensive end Christian Cox. "In our red-zone defense, we take pride in holding our opponents to field goals."
After the offense and defense excelled, Utah's special teams got into the act with a successful fake punt on fourth-and-1 from the San Jose State 40. Punter Sean Sellwood kept the drive alive with a 17-yard run.
The Utes cashed in early in the second quarter when Wynn capped an 11-play series with a 10-yard touchdown throw to Shawn Asiata.
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