Utah Utes football: Big second quarter propels Utes
AMES, Iowa — Shaky Smithson and another strong second-quarter showing ignited the 10th-ranked Utah Utes to a lopsided 68-27 win at Iowa State on Saturday.
The successful combination, along with several other major contributions, allowed the Utes (5-0) to overcome an early deficit to win for the 16th consecutive time (dating back to 2007) when having eight or more days to prepare for an opponent.
"We did a lot of good things, obviously," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said of the program's highest point total since 1983.
The Utes racked up 593 yards of total offense and 28 first downs while topping 50 points for the third consecutive game, doing so for the first time since 2004.
"We did a good job," said quarterback Jordan Wynn, who completed 23-of-31 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns. "Special teams and defense both did a good job, though, of giving us great field position on a lot of those."
Things, however, started off a bit slow.
Utah had a bye last week and looked a little rusty early on. A fumble and an interception led to a pair of Iowa State touchdowns in the first quarter.
Between scores, the Utes countered with a 23-yard field goal by Joe Phillips and a 78-yard punt return by Smithson. The latter set up a 2-yard touchdown pass by Wynn to Eddie Wide.
The Cyclones, though, reclaimed a 14-10 lead by quarter's end — cashing in on a short field after Utah's second miscue.
Things changed shortly thereafter — in a big, big way.
The Utes erupted for 31 points in less than 101/2 minutes to take a 41-14 halftime lead. The outburst made an already impressive statistic even more remarkable. They've now outscored the opposition by a whopping 101-7 margin in the second quarter this season.
"I don't know why that is," Wynn said. "That's just kind of how it always happens. We got a huge momentum shift when Shaky took that punt."
While Utah's defense was holding Iowa State to just three yards rushing in the second quarter, the offense put on quite a show.
Smithson took center stage with prominent roles on two touchdowns. He got things started by throwing a 32-yard scoring strike to DeVonte Christopher on a reverse play.
Following short touchdowns runs by Matt Asiata and Wide, Smithson reached the end zone by hauling in a 61-yard pass from Wynn with 1:34 to play in the half.