9:45 PM ET, November 6, 2004
Rice-Eccles Stadium, SALT LAKE CITY, UT
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah has its first 9-0 start and has scored more points than any other team in school history.
And there's more to go.
Alex Smith threw for 291 yards and four touchdowns to lead Utah (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 7 AP) past Colorado State 63-31 on Saturday night, continuing his Heisman Trophy campaign and his team's hopes for a Bowl Championship Series bid.
"I keep expecting to hit a roadblock sometime, but this team keeps proving me wrong," said Smith, who completed 21-of-26 passes. "Offensively, I don't know who can stop us."
So far, nobody has -- and recently no one has even come close.
Morgan Scalley returned a fumble 88 yards for a score and Marty Johnson and Paris Warren both scored three touchdowns to help the Utes (9-0, 5-0 Mountain West) break the school record for points in a season with 412. That tops the 405 points scored in 1985 and Utah still has two regular-season games to go.
"We not only play for this team, but we play for teams in the past," Scalley said. Being "9-0 is great but it doesn't mean a lot unless we keep rolling."
The Utes, who have had two other 8-0 starts, scored more than 50 points for the third straight week and moved a step closer to a perfect season and a possible BCS bid -- the first for a school outside the six BCS conferences.
An Orange Bowl representative attended the game and the Utes once again put on a scoring display, although hoping for a spot in the national title game might be aiming a little high. Utah was sixth in the BCS standings entering the weekend and had little trouble beating the Rams (3-6, 2-3) for the second straight season.
The Utes had four scoring drives of 80 yards or more and forced five turnovers.
"Utah is the best in the Mountain West. There's no question about that," said Rams coach Sonny Lubick, who had Utah coach Urban Meyer as an assistant at Colorado State in the early '90s. "Offensively, this team is consistent. They're explosive. They've got a nice scheme."
Colorado State's Caleb Hanie was 11-for-25 for 190 yards and two touchdowns but also threw three interceptions. Hanie also ran for a touchdown during Colorado State's 21-point fourth quarter against the Utah reserves.
The Utes scored three touchdowns in each of the first two quarters and rested Smith, who is hoping to be Utah's first Heisman Trophy finalist, for most of the second half. He came back in midway through the fourth quarter after Colorado State's three touchdowns and threw his fourth TD pass of the game, but the outcome was never in question -- to everyone but Meyer.
"You always worry about a guy getting injured, but above that you worry about winning the game," Meyer said. "They scored two or three times in a row and we looked nothing close to stopping them."
Smith, 18-1 as a starter, also ran nine times for 55 yards. He led Utah on an 80-yard scoring drive to open the game, capping it with a 5-yard scoring pass to Warren. It was one of three TD catches for Warren.
The Utes struck again quickly after the Rams drove deep into Utah territory. Spencer Toone and Tommy Hackenbruck sandwiched Hanie on a tackle, causing a fumble that Scalley scooped up at the 12 and returned for a touchdown that put Utah up 14-0. It also broke the school record for a fumble return, set by Arnold Parker's 80-yarder with 1:33 remaining in Utah's 28-21 win at Colorado State last year.
Scalley also had an interception, the first of two for him in the game, early in the second quarter and returned it 40 yards to the Colorado State 22. Smith hit Steve Savoy on the next play for a touchdown that put the Utes up 28-3.
The Utes forced another fumble in Colorado State territory when Hackenbruck knocked the ball from Jimmy Green and Eric Weddle returned it 31 yards to the 13. Johnson scored on fourth-and-goal from the 1 to put the Utes up 42-3 with 39 seconds left in the second quarter.
Colorado State made it 42-10 at halftime on a 26-yard pass from Hanie to Damon Morton with 12 seconds left in the half. Hanie and Morton also connected on a 24-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||3-11||5-11|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||2-2|
|TD||9:51||PARIS WARREN 5 YD PASS FROM ALEX SMITH (DAVID CARROLL KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||8:04||MORGAN SCALLEY 88 YD DEFENSIVE FUMBLE RETURN (DAVID CARROLL KICK)||0||14|
|FG||4:36||JEFF BABCOCK 39 YD FG|
Drive info: 8 plays, 43 yards.
|TD||1:18||PARIS WARREN 6 YD PASS FROM ALEX SMITH (DAVID CARROLL KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||10:04||STEVE SAVOY 22 YD PASS FROM ALEX SMITH (DAVID CARROLL KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 22 yards.
|TD||3:50||MARTY JOHNSON 1 YD RUN (DAVID CARROLL KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 83 yards.
|TD||0:39||MARTY JOHNSON 1 YD RUN (DAVID CARROLL KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 13 yards.
|TD||0:12||DAMON MORTON 26 YD PASS FROM CALEB HANIE (JEFF BABCOCK KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 60 yards.
|TD||9:14||MARTY JOHNSON 1 YD RUN (DAVID CARROLL KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||5:43||BRIAN JOHNSON 4 YD RUN (DAVID CARROLL KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 53 yards.
|TD||14:15||MARCUS HOUSTON 1 YD RUN (JEFF BABCOCK KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 84 yards.
|TD||11:10||DAMON MORTON 24 YD PASS FROM CALEB HANIE (JEFF BABCOCK KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 70 yards.
|TD||7:15||CALEB HANIE 48 YD RUN (JEFF BABCOCK KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 84 yards.
|TD||5:07||PARIS WARREN 9 YD PASS FROM ALEX SMITH (DAVID CARROLL KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 77 yards.