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Utah Utes football: Team savors solid 'complete team effort'

Published: Monday, Sept. 19 2011 9:47 p.m. MDT

Utah Head Coach Kyle Whittingham celebrates with fans after his team destroyed BYU 54-10 Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Kyle Whittingham wouldn't say if Utah's 54-10 win over BYU was the most satisfying triumph in his tenure as a head coach. He did, however, acknowledge it was a "complete team effort."

No doubt about it.

The key, Whittingham said, was how the team came back from a 23-14 loss at USC the week before. They went about their business and worked hard Monday through Friday preparing to play the Cougars.

"It's all about preparation and that's the main factor in your performance on Saturday," he explained.

Whittingham offered a similar answer as to why the Utes have now scored 41 or more points in five games over the past two seasons.

Contributions were plentiful in the rout of BYU.

"It was a solid effort in all three phases," Whittingham noted. "But it's time to put it behind us and move forward."

Utah's only bye week of the season began with the travel squad watching film and lifting weights Monday. Practices are scheduled for today, Wednesday and Thursday.

All 10 full-time coaches will be on the road recruiting this weekend.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore linebacker Trevor Reilly became Utah's first official "Pac-12 Player of the Week." Reilly was honored after forcing three fumbles (a school record) and making three tackles-for-loss, including two sacks, against BYU. He also recovered a fumble and had a pass breakup.

"He had a very good evening," Whittingham said. "He was very active."

Whittingham noted that defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake used Reilly as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 package Saturday. It allowed Reilly to drop back into coverage at times and rush the passer at times.

LOOKING AHEAD: After the bye week, Utah faces a pivotal scheduling stretch of back-to-back Pac-12 home games against Washington and Arizona State.

The Utes, though, aren't looking ahead to both games. They're taking things one at a time.

"That never changes," Whittingham said. "We've got to pour everything we have into the Washington Huskies and that's it. That's the only thing that is on our minds."

NOT A RECORD: BYU's six lost fumbles on Saturday was not a Utah opponent record. Believe it or not, the Utes have had better days. In 1972, they recovered nine Arizona State fumbles. In 1976, they pounced on seven against UTEP.

The half-dozen lost cough-ups by the Cougars rank third in Utah history, equaling a mark previously set by Pacific (1949), Colorado State (1971), New Mexico (1972), Arizona State (1973), Oregon State (1991) and Air Force (1994).

ABOUT REALIGNMENT: Whittingham isn't surprised about all the chatter concerning conference realignment across the nation. He has long expected super-conferences to form.

"I think it's going to happen," Whittingham said. "Where teams land is not for certain, but I think there's going to be a lot of change. It looks like it's already starting."

EXTRA POINTS: The Pac-12 announced Monday that the Utah-Washington game at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Oct. 1 will kick off at 5 p.m. and be televised by FSN. ...Offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom, who injured his right knee in the BYU game, is still being evaluated and his return date is uncertain. The Utes, however, are hoping to get fullback/tight end Luke Matthews (shoulder) back over the bye week. ... Utah's homecoming theme this year is "Pac to the future."

Margin of victory

Here is a quick look at the margin of victory in Utah's last 10 wins:

53 — Colorado State (2010), 59-6

53 — San Jose State (2010), 56-3

44 — at BYU (2011), 54-10

42 — at New Mexico (2010), 56-14

41 — at Iowa State (2010), 68-27

24 — at Wyoming (2010), 30-6

17 — Montana State (2011), 27-10

5 — at Air Force (2010), 28-23

4 — at San Diego State (2010), 38-34

1 — BYU (2010), 17-16Margin of victory

Here is a quick look at the margin of victory in Utah's last 10 wins:

53 — Colorado State (2010), 59-6

53 — San Jose State (2010), 56-3

44 — at BYU (2011), 54-10

42 — at New Mexico (2010), 56-14

41 — at Iowa State (2010), 68-27

24 — at Wyoming (2010), 30-6

17 — Montana State (2011), 27-10

5 — at Air Force (2010), 28-23

4 — at San Diego State (2010), 38-34

1 — BYU (2010), 17-16

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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