TEMPE, Ariz. Just minutes after being named co-offensive player of the game, along with teammate Paris Warren, and hearing the Ute crowd chant "One more year," Ute quarterback Alex Smith said he still isn't sure of his plans for next year.
Smith talked about how he "didn't want to take anything away from the team" and how he "wouldn't fully understand" the magnitude of the Utes' perfect season "for awhile."
When asked specifically about his plans for next year, Smith said, "I've not made up my mind yet. I'm trying to enjoy this."
Smith did discuss the timing for announcement of his plans for next year whether he puts his name into the NFL draft or returns for his senior season.
"Absolutely, absolutely," he said when asked if the decision about next year will come within a couple of days. "It wouldn't be fair to everyone else."
Ute coach Urban Meyer said he supports Smith in whatever he decides, but Smith shouldn't go unless he's definitely a first-rounder.
"If he's not a first-rounder, he should come back," Meyer said. "A lot of things have to be taken into consideration. The ultimate responsibility is to him and his family."
Smith finished the game with one of his top performances of the year, getting 396 yards of total offense, including 328 yards passing on 29 of 37 completions and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 68 yards on 15 carries.
As usual, the Ute offense was efficient all night just one turnover and spectacular at times. There was a double-reverse run by Warren for 17 yards in the first quarter, but the best play was the hook and ladder in the third quarter.
Smith passed to Steve Savoy, who started back to the right, only to flip the ball to Warren coming the other way. Warren weaved his way down the right sideline and hurdled into the end zone to make it 35-7 with 25 seconds left in the third quarter.
"We practiced that all throughout our bowl preparation, twice a day, and it never worked," Smith said. "Out here it worked pretty sweet."
Smith was his usual effective self in the first half, completing 12 of 15 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. He ran for 15 yards total, but lost nine yards on sacks.
But he really turned it on in the third quarter, when he led the Utes to three scores and 216 yards of total offense.The crowd roared when Smith was taken out in the final minute, replaced by heir apparent Brian Johnson. It might have been Ute fans' final look at the quarterback who led them to their first 12-0 season.