Tom Smart, Deseret News
LARAMIE, Wyo. — For once, the weather wasn't bad when Utah visited Wyoming.
Even so, things weren't exactly sunshine and rainbows for the 10th-ranked Utes at War Memorial Stadium. They turned the ball over three times and had a PAT blocked as the guests at Wyoming's homecoming.
"It usually spells disaster," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "But we were able to overcome that tonight."
Thanks to a stellar defense and yet another big second quarter, the Utes left town with a 30-6 victory — becoming bowl eligible after improving to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in Mountain West Conference play.
"It's kind of a consolation, I think," said senior center Zane Taylor. "It was a bit of an ugly game for us but we still came out with a pretty handy victory."
Quarterback Jordan Wynn, who completed 16-of-25 passes for 230 yards and a pair of touchdowns, also looked at the bottom line. He was intercepted three times.
"It shows how good this team can be," Wynn said. "I've just got to take it upon myself to take care of the football."
Despite the turnovers, Utah racked up 431 yards of total offense. Matt Asiata led the effort with 109 yards rushing, becoming the first Ute to top 100 this season.
Utah's defense, though, stole the show. Wyoming managed just 183 yards of offense and netted only 10 first downs. The Cowboys were tackled behind the line of scrimmage 11 times and were stopped on third down nine times.
"We just try to get out there every play and play to our full potential," said cornerback Brandon Burton, who finished with a team-high six tackles. "We take pride in our defense."
Whittingham was especially pleased with the defensive effort against the run. Wyoming averaged a paltry 1.8 yards per carry.
"The defensive effort was very good," said Whittingham, who acknowledged there were a lot of positives in the game.
Not enough, though, to look past the inadequacies.
Whittingham said the three interceptions overshadowed things.
"We've got to do a better job there," he explained while calling his team's turnover margin "abysmal."
Wynn vows to learn from the mistakes and move on.
"I've just got to take care of the football," he said. "There's nothing else to say."
Utah led 23-0 at halftime.
The Utes dominated the first two quarters by racking up 278 yards of total offense and holding the Cowboys to just 98. In addition to a 14-4 advantage in first downs, Utah allowed Wyoming to convert on just 1-of-6 third-down situations in the first half.
The Utes scored on the game's first series by marching 70 yards on five plays. They capped things off with a 45-yard scoring strike from Wynn to Luke Matthews.
Utah's second drive was also headed for a payoff, but Wynn was intercepted by Wyoming cornerback Tashaun Gibson in the far right corner of the end zone.
It failed, however, to sway momentum.
The Utes took a 7-0 lead into the second quarter, a segment they have dominated this season.
Nothing changed this time around.
A 48-yard field goal by Joe Phillips — his 17th consecutive successful kick — ushered in a 16-point scoring outburst for the Utah.
Through six games, the Utes have now outscored opponents by a 117-7 margin.
"That's a bit of good news," Whittingham said.
The latest additions to the tally include a 16-yard touchdown pass from Wynn to DeVonte Christopher with 2:21 to play in the half and 6-yard TD run by Eddie Wide in the final minute.
"We came out ready to play," said Wyoming coach Dave Christensen. "(But) I was disappointed in how we closed out the second quarter."
Between the touchdowns, Wyoming blocked a PAT attempt by Phillips. It snapped the senior's streak of consecutive extra-point kicks made at 54. The run dated back to last season.
Phillips started a new streak after Wide's score and extended it in the third quarter following a 7-yard touchdown run by Reggie Dunn on a reverse.
Leading 30-0, Utah's bid for a shutout ended with 7:23 remaining in the fourth quarter when Dax Crum threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to David Leonard.
"We can take away some things from this game," Leonard said. "For us to move the ball and score a late touchdown was a positive."
Wyoming (2-5, 0-3) will visit BYU Saturday, while Utah returns home to face Colorado State.
The Utes are off to their third 6-0 start in seven years. The other two (2004 and 2008) resulted in Bowl Championship Series appearances.
"My hat's off to Utah," Christensen said. "They're an excellent team."
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