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Utes Overcome Slow Start, Run By San Jose State

The Utah Utes cruised by the San Jose State Spartans, 34-17.

SAN JOSE, Calif.—After a six-turnover performance in their week two win over the BYU Cougars, the Utah Utes were hoping for a strong cleanup in Saturday’s game against the Mountain West’s San Jose State Spartans.  It didn’t come early, but the Utes (3-0, 1-0 away) ended up cruising by the Spartans (1-2, 1-1 home), 34-17.

After San Jose State lit up the scoreboard first with a field goal, the Utes settled for a pair of their own Andy Phillips field goals in their first three drives.  Before halftime, three Utah offensive drives ended after just three plays.

Frustrated, hungry, and only holding to a three-point lead, the Utes bolted down the field 74 yards in just six plays in the dying moments of the half, spanning only one and a quarter minutes, landing in the SJSU end zone via a Troy Williams stripe to Tim Patrick on a slant route.  Armed with newly-acquired momentum and confidence, the Utes entered the locker room up 20-10.

In the third and fourth quarters, the Utes settled in an offensive groove, pounding for longer drives with more chunk plays.  Utah found the end zone twice more via running backs Zack Moss and Armand Shyne in the second half before sending in the reserves in the fourth quarter.

Ball security was again an issue for the Utes, with Williams throwing an interception in the third quarter.  Troy McCormick lost a fumble two drives later deep in Spartan territory.  However, both ensuing SJSU possessions were snuffed out by Utah’s usual smothering defense.  Throughout the night, the Utes found Spartan quarterbacks Kenny Potter and Josh Love in the backfield, amassing ten sacks—split between eight players, the most for Utah since the same treatment on former UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley in Los Angeles in 2014.

Complementing the double-digit sack effort was a forced fumble by special-teamer Casey Hughes on a muffed punt and a duo of interceptions by Reggie Porter and Marcus Williams.  The Utes defense held the Spartans to 305 offensive yards, including just 101 between the second and third quarters.

Utah rode the backs of newcomers Moss and Shyne for a combined 187 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. With the retirement of senior Joe Williams early this week, the Utes will look to Moss and Shyne through the rest of the season for the dirty work between the tackles, and rely on Troy McCormick for speedier action out of the backfield.

In his third start, Troy Williams threw for 257 yards, completing 20-of-28 attempts with a touchdown and an interception.  His key target once again was Patrick, who totaled 121 yards on six receptions, including a touchdown.  Cory Butler-Byrd chipped in 66 yards receiving, including a catch-and-run of 45 yards on his first reception after returning from a two-game suspension.

Saturday’s win concludes non-conference play for the Utes, who will face the Southern California Trojans on Friday, September 23rd at Rice-Eccles Stadium.  The game can be heard on ESPN 700.

Kyle Whittingham Postgame:

Troy Williams Postgame:

Tim Patrick Postgame:

Zack Moss Postgame:

Lowell Lotulelei Postgame:


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