Smith's career night lifts Utah


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Alex Smith is looking comfortable as Utah's starting quarterback.

Making just his third start, Smith passed for a career-best 340 yards and two touchdowns as Utah beat a ranked opponent for the first time in four years by upsetting Oregon (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) 17-13 Friday night.

``This is what you play for -- the crowd, the fans, Oregon. It was unbelievable,'' said Smith, who completed 25 of 38 passes for the Utes (4-1).

Utah coach Urban Meyer had promised to open up Utah's offense after running conservative game plans in Smith's first two starts for Brett Elliott, who broke his wrist in a loss to Texas A&M on Sept. 6.

With a combination of counters, shuffle passes and more down-field attempts than Smith had thrown in his first two starts, Utah had 466 yards of offense -- the Utes' highest total since gaining 415 in the A&M game.

``I was scared of their speed, but how about Utah's speed?'' Meyer said. ``You saw glimpses of the real spread offense.''

The Utes, who beat California 31-24 in the second game of the season, are 2-0 against Pac-10 teams.

Oregon (4-2) lost its second straight after beating then top-five Michigan (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 3 AP).

``It's pretty frustrating. You win a game like Michigan, you feel on top of the world,'' Oregon center Dan Weaver said. ``This feels like your legs have been cut off. This was a tough loss.''

Oregon, which had nine turnovers last week in a 55-16 loss to Washington State, had just two Friday, but the Ducks were shut out in the second half. Oregon had a final chance after stopping Utah on a fourth-and-goal from inside the 1 with 31.3 seconds left, but it didn't have enough time to move the ball the length of the field. The game ended on an 18-yard completion from Kellen Clemens to Demetrius Williams at the Oregon 34.

The Utes lingered for several minutes as the crowd of 44,676 continued to cheer. It was Utah's first win over a ranked opponent since beating Brigham Young -- ranked 19th -- 20-17 in 1999.

``This could be the start of something big for us. We're really rolling now,'' said freshman receiver Steve Savoy, who had a career night with six catches for 176 yards and his first career touchdown.

Paris Warren, who transferred from Oregon after the 2001 season, had 10 catches for 54 yards and ran five times for 32 yards against his former team.

Smith's previous best was a 17-of-22 for 158 yards performance last week in a 28-21 win over Colorado State.

The Ducks shut down the Utes for most of the third quarter and pinned them on their 7-yard line with a punt late in the quarter, but Utah marched down the field for its first lead.

``I knew their offense would be problematic for us,'' Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said. ``They made the big plays. Utah is a quality team.''

Clemens was 12-of-24 for 246 yards, but the Ducks had just 33 rushing yards on 32 carries. Utah had five sacks, including one that caused Jason Fife to fumble as the Ducks were trying to rally in the fourth quarter.

``It makes it tough when you can't run the ball,'' Bellotti said.

On the winning drive, Smith converted on a third down with a 7-yard pass to Warren, then hit Savoy on a 50-yard pass play that set up Utah at the Oregon 25. On third-and-7 from the 9, Smith hit Ben Moa on a slant for a touchdown that gave Utah its first lead with 13:07 left to play.

The Ducks had taken an early lead, catching the Utes by surprise with a fake punt from their own 48 early in the second quarter, then on first down Clemens hit Samie Parker in stride through double coverage at the Utah 2. Clemens took it in two plays later for a 10-3 lead.

Oregon scored again quickly after Steven Moore stripped the ball from Utah receiver Travis LaTendresse and the Ducks recovered at the 30, setting up Jared Siegel's 40-yard field goal to make it 13-3 with 11:13 left in the half.

Utah answered with a 69-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Savoy, who had a step on Moore and outran him down the right sideline to cut the lead to 13-10.

Utah was inside the Oregon 20 three times in the first half, but the Utes got just one field goal and two missed attempts out of the drives.


ESPN Fan Shop Powered By

  • Nike Men's Oregon Ducks Apple Green/Yellow Team Issue Performance PoloShop

  • Under Armour Youth Utah Utes #4 Crimson Replica Football JerseyPrice: $60.00 Shop