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October 10, 2010

Utes dominate Cyclones

AMES, Iowa -- After watching two early turnovers turn into quick Iowa State touchdowns, No. 10 Utah knew it was time to find its trademark rhythm.

It didn't take long for the Utes to turn things around.

Jordan Wynn threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns, Shaky Smithson threw a TD pass and caught another one and No. 10 Utah blew past host Iowa State 68-27 Saturday night, scoring its most points since beating Wyoming 69-14 in 1983.

Eddie Wide added three touchdowns for the Utes (5-0, 2-0 MWC), who overcame an early 14-10 hole with 31 unanswered points in the second quarter.
"I just kind of got into a groove and rolled with it," Wynn said. "As a whole offense, we just started clicking."

Once the Utes got going, they didn't stop.

Smithson, a wide receiver, gave the Utes a 17-14 lead with a 32-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter. Matt Asiata and Wide followed with short TD runs, and Wynn found Smithson for a 61-yard touchdown to make it 38-14 late in the first half.

Reggie Dunn's 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown pushed Utah's lead to 51-20 midway through the third quarter.

Austen Arnaud had 178 yards passing for Iowa State (3-3, 1-1 Big 12), which has surrendered 106 points in the last two games.

Utah had seemingly gotten lost in the BCS-buster shuffle as Boise State and TCU rolled out to unbeaten starts. Utah's lone big win came against scuffling Pittsburgh, 27-24, in its opener, and the Utes had feasted on UNLV, New Mexico and San Jose State in subsequent weeks.

The Cyclones certainly aren't a Big 12 powerhouse, but the ease with which the Utes handled them was impressive.

Utah racked up 593 yards of offense, topped 50 points for the third week in a row and held Iowa State -- which beat Texas Tech 52-38 just a week ago -- to 0-for-11 on third downs.

"Everyone was underestimating us. I mean, that's kind of been the story of this whole season," Utah linebacker Chad Manis said. "We're going to go out every game and make a statement. We earned our ranking."

On a night when seemingly every Ute shined, none stood out quite like Smithson.

In the first half alone, Smithson set up a touchdown with a spectacular 78-yard punt return, threw his TD pass off a reverse and snagged a long touchdown pass to help put the Utes ahead 41-14.

On his punt return, Smithson fought his way through traffic near the right sideline, cut left and then back inside before running out of gas at the 2-yard line. Wynn followed with a short TD pass to Wide to give Utah a 10-7 lead.

Smithson then pulled up on a reverse and chucked the ball into the end zone. It was a risky toss between two Iowa State defenders, but the ball plopped in DeVonte Christopher's lap to put the Utes back ahead 17-14.

Smithson later pulled up on a fly pattern to grab Wynn's pass, shook off his defender and sprinted 61 yards for the score.

"Whenever I got the ball in my hands, I was just really tried to make a big play and just get the momentum for my team," Smithson said.

Iowa State knew it would need some breaks to hang with the Utes, and the Cyclones took advantage of two early takeaways to jump ahead 14-10.

A Utah fumble deep in its own territory led to a 2-yard TD run by Alexander Robinson, and Arnaud followed a Wynn pick with a 20-yard touchdown toss in the back of the end zone to Jake Williams.

The lead didn't last though, because Iowa State couldn't control the line of scrimmage or even slow the high-flying Utes.

"Some days you get up and you get the unexpected. That was a heck of a football team. There was clearly a big difference in team speed out there tonight," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. "That showed in all phases, special teams in particular. We were soundly beat in all three phases."

Even when the Cyclones scored, Utah quickly topped them. Arnaud threw a 36-yard TD pass to Collin Franklin in the third quarter. But Utah blocked the extra point, and Dunn took the kickoff 100 yards for a score.

The Utes had 109 yards on a pair of interception returns and 156 yards on six punt returns.

"Once we got the two turnovers behind us in the first quarter, we got into a rhythm and did a nice job," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "We were very productive."

Photos from Utah at Iowa State


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