SALT LAKE CITY — Saturday had to be the most offensive day in the history of college football in the state. And we're not talking about how Weber State felt about all those touchdowns Utah piled on them.
The state’s Big Three of BYU, Utah and Utah State scored 162 points and piled up 1,884 yards in three impressive victories. To put it in context, that’s an average of 54 points and 628 yards per team.
Most impressive was BYU’s 40-21 win over No. 15 Texas. Taysom Hill was the real deal as a runner with his 259-yard performance, one of the best the state has ever seen, especially considering it came against a national-ranked opponent. With that kind of running, it was easy to ignore another sub-par passing day (9 of 26 completions).
Utah’s Travis Wilson also showed off his running ability with three carries for 93 yards. His 31 yards a carry topped Hill’s impressive 15.2 yards per carry, but that was due to TD runs of 51 and 38 yards and not getting any more carries as he sat out the entire second half. Wilson also passed for 264 yards in his half of play.
Chuckie Keeton did it with his feet and his arm in a blowout over Air Force, something Utah and BYU rarely if ever did in Colorado Springs. Keeton completed 32 of 40 passes for 360 yards and ran for 77 yards. For the season, Keeton has completed 63 of 80 passes for 674 yards and seven touchdowns on the year.
Here are more highlights and lowlights from the second week of the college season.
Southern Utah had an outstanding overall performance in blitzing Fort Lewis 49-0. The T-Birds could have probably won 100-0 over John L. Smith’s Division II team, but took their foot off the gas early and didn’t score the final 25 minutes of the game.
Before the season, USC coach Lane Kiffin insisted the fact that he couldn’t name a starting quarterback was a positive because it meant he had two good quarterbacks. Of course that usually means a team doesn’t have a good one, and that’s quite evident after the Trojans’ first two games. In the win over Hawaii and loss to Washington State Saturday night, the Trojans used both quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Max Wittek for significant portions of the game. The first week, Kessler had a quarterback rating of 19.4 and Wittek was 24.0. In Saturday’s loss, Kessler's rating was 26.8 and Wittek 0.7.
USC is not very good, it appears, but Washington State looks to be much improved under second-year coach Mike Leach, who got his start in the coaching business at BYU. Leach can’t compete with Oregon and Stanford in his division yet, but his team won’t be a pushover any more, meaning the Utes can’t count on a victory in Pullman in November.
One of the most bizarre sights of the week was the two South Carolina assistant coaches fighting on the sidelines during their game with Georgia. When asked about it afterwards, head coach Steve Spurrier said he wasn’t aware of it. First he asked who the coaches were and then shrugged, “At least they care.’’
Weber State assistants cared about the way they were treated at Rice-Eccles Stadium. They weren’t too happy about Utah tacking on a touchdown late in the first half to extend its lead to 49-0. As they passed the Utah assistants on their way to the elevator they expressed their feelings about the Utes’ two-minute offense to end the half, and afterwards head coach Jody Sears talked about it. But the Wildcats better not say too much or they may not get invited back to Salt Lake to pick up another $400,000 check.
Now if Weber State was playing Fort Lewis and their former coach-for-a-month, you can bet they'd try to score 100 points.
Remember just a few years ago when the Mountain West used to hold its own against the then-Pac-10? Those days appear over. With three more head-to-head victories Saturday, the Pac-12 improved to 8-0 vs. MWC this year.
Utah State picked a good time to get into the MWC. Not only are Utah and BYU not around, but a few schools are having down years. Boise State lost by 32 to Washington and San Diego State was crushed by Ohio State after losing to Eastern Illinois by 21. Colorado State is 0-2 after losing to Tulsa, while Hawaii hasn’t shown much in two losses. Air Force is down, UNLV is as bad as ever and New Mexico is New Mexico. Only Wyoming and Fresno State look to be improved over last year.
BYU’s former quarterback Jake Heaps made his debut for Kansas Saturday. His team beat South Dakota State 31-14 but Heaps was a so-so 10 of 20 for 110 yards. Also, his rushing total was 274 yards behind Taysom Hill’s with negative-15 yards.
Gary Andersen’s Wisconsin team has outscored its first two opponents by a combined score of 93-0. However, both wins were against FCS schools and the Badgers won’t find out how really good they are until this week when they take on Arizona State in Tempe.
Did you wonder what the deal was with Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner wearing No. 98 in Saturday’s win over Notre Dame? It looked quite funny to see a quarterback taking snaps and flinging passes with a No. 98 on his back. It turns out that Michigan decided to “un-retire” the number of former Michigan great Tom Harmon and Gardner will wear it for the rest of the season instead of his usual No. 12.