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Report card: Utah Utes vs. Northern Colorado Bears

Published: Thursday, Aug. 30 2012 9:33 p.m. MDT

Utah's 13 Kelvin York makes a catch during the game against the Northern Colorado Bears at the University of Utah on Thursday, August 30, 2012.   (Laura Seitz, Deseret News) Utah's 13 Kelvin York makes a catch during the game against the Northern Colorado Bears at the University of Utah on Thursday, August 30, 2012. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

OFFENSE: The start of the game was rough with Jordan Wynn throwing a long bomb that was intercepted on the Utes' first drive. Wynn regained his poise, connecting with tight end Jake Murphy six times for 78 yards and two touchdowns. He finished the game 19-of-27 with two touchdown passes (both to Murphy) and 200 yards. The use of freshman quarterback Travis Wilson near the goal line was smart even if he did hurdle a defender on his first run. Wilson rushed for two touchdowns while senior John White rushed for his ninth 100-plus yard game (119) and scored once. The only question marks after Thursday's game are how secure Jon Hays' grip on the back-up quarterback position is and whether Wynn can accurately throw the long ball. GRADE: B+

DEFENSE: The defense lived up to its billing, beginning with the gritty line. Defensive end Joe Kruger grabbed an interception in the fourth quarter and ran it 24 yards for a touchdown to highlight the night's effort. The group had just two sacks for a total of 20 yards lost, but players held the Bears to 79 yards receiving and 74 yards rushing. They also forced five fumbles but only one of those resulted in a turnover, and they batted down several passes. GRADE: A

QB Travis Wilson scores in the first half of the Utah Utes vs. Northern Colorado Bears game at the University of Utah on Thursday, August 30, 2012.   (Laura Seitz, Deseret News) QB Travis Wilson scores in the first half of the Utah Utes vs. Northern Colorado Bears game at the University of Utah on Thursday, August 30, 2012. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SPECIAL TEAMS: Coleman Petersen missed a 27-yard field goal attempt just before halftime and then a PAT after Murphy's second touchdown in the fourth quarter. Both times it bounced off the upright. The misses were mentioned in the post-game interview with head coach Kyle Whittingham as an area of concern. The kicks were not critical, but it is alarming because of last year's misses that cost the Utes a shot at playing for the Pac-12 championship. Sean Sellwood was a bright spot with two nice punts, including a 60-yard kick that pinned N. Colorado on the 3-yard line, which set the Utes up on the subsequent series for their first score. GRADE: C-

OVERALL: The team overcame a slow start and looked efficient, even methodical at times. They are fundamentally sound and the offense was creative and explosive under first-year offensive coordinator Brian Johnson. There were a few lapses, but facing tougher opponents will likely bring more focus and intensity to a clearly talented, competitive squad. Questions about special teams and Wynn's ability to throw long (accurately) remain, but many doubts were erased after an impressive performance. GRADE: B

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