10:00 PM ET, October 16, 2004
Rice-Eccles Stadium, SALT LAKE CITY, UT
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Alex Smith threw four touchdown passes, ran for two more scores and even got a rare chance to run the 2-minute drill for Utah.
Smith worked the hurry-up offense to perfection in the first half in the Utes' (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) 46-16 victory over North Carolina on Saturday night, driving 99 yards in 10 plays in 1:53. He capped it with a 6-yard TD pass to Paris Warren with 2 seconds left.
"We practice the 2-minute and no-huddle every day," Smith said. "Finally, we got a chance to use it."
The Utes (6-0) moved the ball at will in the first meeting between the schools, gaining 669 yards of total offense -- the most ever allowed by North Carolina. The previous record was 657 yards by Arizona State last year.
"You have to give it to Utah," North Carolina coach John Bunting said. "It's embarrassing that they set a school record on us."
Smith was 29-for-37 for 341 yards.
"If they can keep Alex Smith healthy, they can hurt a lot of teams," Bunting said.
Staying healthy was a problem for the Tar Heels (3-4).
Six players, including starting quarterback Darian Durant and starting tailback Jacque Lewis, were forced from the game. A sprained right elbow sidelined Durant late in the second quarter, and Lewis went out with back contusions after carrying on the first offensive play of the game.
"I thought I wasn't going to have a team in the second half," Bunting said.
Injuries weren't North Carolina's only problem. The Tar Heels last week suspended three players after they were cited for marijuana possession. Receiver Adarius Bowman, linebacker Fred Sparkman and defensive tackle Isaiah Thomas are all out indefinitely and didn't travel with the team.
Utah didn't let up after leading 30-10 at halftime, taking the opening drive in the third quarter 80 yards. Smith scored on a 5-yard TD run.
Then Utah momentarily stopped itself on two successive series deep in its own territory, which Utah coach Urban Meyer called the night's only negatives.
Running back Marty Johnson fumbled at the Utah 19, but the Utes held the Tar Heels on fourth-and-goal from the Utah 2.
On Utah's next series, Smith was intercepted on an errant shovel pass at the Utah 27, and the Utah defense couldn't keep North Carolina out of the end zone a second time.
Martin Hedgecock scored his second TD for the Tar Heels, both on 1-yard runs.
Hedgecock's first TD came on North Carolina's opening possession, but that defensive series was the only sign of sluggishness as Utah was coming off a bye week.
"First 2 minutes went well," Bunting joked.
The Utes tied it on a 6-yard run by Johnson and made it 10-7 on a 22-yard field goal by Bryan Borreson.
Then Smith went to work in the second half, throwing a 5-yard TD pass to Quinton Ganther and a 46-yarder to Steve Savoy, who finished with 154 yards on 10 receptions.
North Carolina's only score in the second quarter came off a 29-yard field goal by Connor Barth.
Smith threw a 15-yard scoring pass to John Madsen in the fourth, and Utah also scored a safety when Grady Marshall blocked a punt out of the end zone.
Besides beating North Carolina from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Utah has bolstered its chances for a BCS bowl with wins this year over No. 23 Texas A&M of the Big 12 and Arizona of the Pac-10.
"This was a statement game for us," Savoy said. "No disrespect to North Carolina, but they didn't know what they were getting into."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-14||6-11|
|4th Down Conversions||1-2||0-0|
|TD||9:15||MADISON HEDGECOCK 1 YD RUN (CONNOR BARTH KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 59 yards.
|TD||6:42||MARTY JOHNSON 6 YD RUN (BRYAN BORRESON KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 29 yards.
|FG||0:58||BRYAN BORRESON 22 YD FG|
Drive info: 11 plays, 77 yards.
|TD||13:39||QUINTON GANTHER 5 YD PASS FROM ALEX SMITH (BRYAN BORRESON KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 87 yards.
|FG||9:45||CONNOR BARTH 29 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 68 yards.
|TD||7:50||STEVE SAVOY 46 YD PASS FROM ALEX SMITH (BRYAN BORRESON KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||0:02||PARIS WARREN 6 YD PASS FROM ALEX SMITH (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 99 yards.
|TD||10:17||ALEX SMITH 5 YD RUN (DAVID CARROLL KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||1:57||MADISON HEDGECOCK 1 YD RUN (FAILED 2PT RUSH)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 25 yards.
|TD||12:30||JOHN MADSEN 15 YD PASS FROM ALEX SMITH (DAVID CARROLL KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yards.