SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah opened up a new era as a Pac-12 program with a sigh of relief and a 2011 season-opening victory.
Running back John White looked sharp in new Ute offensive coordinator Norm Chow's offense, rushing for 150 yards and scoring two touchdowns in Utah's 27-10 victory over FCS opponent Montana State.
Junior quarterback Jordan Wynn, who had offseason shoulder surgery, began the year with a quiet outing that included 103 yards on 15-for-23 and two touchdown tosses.
Sophomore linebacker Brian Blechen started the season strong for the Utes' defense, picking off two Montana State passes.
MSU spoiled Utah's shutout bid late in the second quarter with a 7-yard touchdown toss from Denarius McGhee to a wide-open Tanner Bleskin.
But it was all Utah before that scoring strike with 35 seconds left in the opening half.
After a three-and-out first possession, the Utes rolled to take a 24-0 lead over the outmatched Bobcats.
Wynn had two first-quarter touchdown passes, including a 7-yarder to DeVonte Christopher and a 5-yard toss to White.
White also had a 10-yard run to paydirt and rushed for 53 yards in that opening half.
The first half also included a couple of highlights by the defense and special teams.
Blechen stung Montana State's offense by returning an interception to the 8-yard line, setting up the Utes' first score.
Matt Martinez later blocked a punt deep in Bobcat territory, a standout play that resulted in a 37-yard field goal by Coleman Petersen.
The Utes' offense had a quiet second half, with its only points coming in the third quarter on a 44-yard field goal by Petersen.
The Bobcats added a fourth quarter field goal and then had a solid possession stopped deep in Utah territory by Blechen's second pick midway through the fourth quarter.
Read Mike Sorensen's live game blog here.
Read Dirk Facer's game preview here.
Follow Deseret News reporter Jody Genessy's tweets from Rice-Eccles Stadium on our @DesNewsSports Twitter account.
Montana State at Utah
Thursday, 6 p.m.
TV: KJZZ89 comments on this story
Radio: 700 AM