Utah Utes football notebook: Air Force's Troy Calhoun impressed with U.

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 26 2010 11:00 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Air Force coach Troy Calhoun had high praise for Utah in Tuesday's Mountain West coaches teleconference.

"This is probably the best team that maybe they've ever had there," Calhoun said while making a case that this year's Utes are even better than the undefeated squad in 2008, which he called outstanding.

"I think they're much faster, more athletic — especially at the skill positions and then defensively," Calhoun explained. "This is an excellent Utah football team."

When informed of Calhoun's remarks, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham returned the praise.

"I think it's the best Air Force team in the history of the Air Force, as well," he said. "So I guess we're on equal footing there."

TEW SIDELINED: Air Force fullback Jared Tew, a Park City graduate, is sidelined with a broken right fibula he suffered early in a 27-25 loss at San Diego State on Oct. 16. The senior was a preseason All-MWC selection and had 542 yards on 110 carries in seven games.

THE TCU GAME: Whittingham and the Utes won't talk about it. They're only concerned about Air Force right now.

However, next week's home game against TCU is already drawing a big buzz. The Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl and Maaco Bowl Las Vegas plan to send multiple representatives to the game. Sports Illustrated and several other national media outlets have already requested credentials, as well.

And if both Utah and TCU win Saturday, don't be surprised if ESPN's "GameDay" rolls into town for the first time since 2004.

EXTRA POINTS: Air Force, which played fourth-ranked TCU last week, is playing two Top 10 teams in the same season for the first time since 1973. ... The Utes have outscored opponents in every quarter this season. They hold a commanding 134-13 advantage in the second quarter. ... Senior cornerback Lamar Chapman leads the MWC with 9.5 tackles-for-loss.

e-mail: dirk@desnews.com

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