Big play Saturday

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Alex Smith had a 70-yard touchdown run, Steve Fifita scored a touchdown, and the U football team was 1 yard away from scoring 70 points in a single game.

It was just that good of day for the Utes and just that bad of a day for UNLV, as the Utes moved to 7-0 on the season with a 63-28 win in the rain.

Before many fans even entered the stadium, the Utes were on the board-twice.

Ute cornerback Bo Nagahi fielded the first kickoff of the game 7 yards deep in the end zone, but decided to take it out. At the 10-yard line, he pitched the ball back on a reverse to safety Morgan Scalley, who ran 90-yards to paydirt.

“I told Bo before the play to only take the ball out if he is about 4 to 7 yards deep in the end zone and he maxed that out,” U coach Urban Meyer said. “Grady Marshall also made a great block down the field for Morgan.”

Marshall and the special teams carried the momentum to their next opportunity on a punt.

After the Ute defense stopped the Rebel offense on their first possession, Grady Marshall blocked the punt and Derrek Richards recovered at the Rebel 27-yard line. Smith took advantage of the field position.

On the first play, Smith hooked up with receiver Steve Savoy for a 27-yard touchdown and the Utes were up 14 with more than 11 minutes to play in the first quarter.

“We were looking for the quick score,” Savoy said.

Although the Rebels were blown out of the game, they didn’t have too much trouble moving the ball.

Down 14 points, UNLV quarterback Shane Steichen found Donell Wheaton on a 46-yard pass to get the team in scoring range. However, the Ute defense stiffened and kicker Sergio Aguayo missed a 41-yard field goal.

As usual, the offense took advantage.

Smith moved the team up the field with a 10-yard pass to John Madsen, a 24-yard pass to Paris Warren and a 17-yard pass to Steve Savoy. The Utes then used the shovel pass, as Smith flicked the ball to Travis LaTendresse, who ran to the end zone and the Utes had a 21-point advantage.

After a Rebel touchdown, Smith pulled a Michael Vick on the next offensive drive.

On first down from the 30-yard line, Smith pulled the ball down and ran down the sidelines.

The Rebel defender who was closing in over-pursued and Smith turned inside and ran for a 70-yard score.

“When the end comes crashing down, I just take the ball and run,” Smith said. “I was just running scared.”

The Utes had 28 points on the board at the end of the first quarter. Smith was six-of-six passing for 100 yards and three total touchdowns at this point.

The looming blowout meant many of the starters would be replaced in the third quarter.

“I want to play the entire game, but we always want to put them away early,” Savoy said of the starters not playing too much into the second half of the game.

Savoy took advantage of the time he had before he was taken out of the game early in the second quarter. Smith seemed as if he was running an option to the long side of the field, but Savoy came around the end on the reverse and Smith pitched him the ball.

Savoy took the ball 29 yards for the touchdown. “They have been trying to get me the ball in different ways over the past few weeks,” Savoy said.

The only bright spot for the Rebels was running back Dominique Dorsey, who had a great day. Dorsey ran the ball 29 times for 174 yards and scored two touchdowns.

But that was the lone bright spot.

Early in the third quarter, Steinbach tried to throw a screen pass deep in Rebel territory and it went right to Fifita, who rumbled into the end zone for the touchdown. The Utes still weren’t finished.

To add insult to injury, Marshall blocked a punt and cornerback Shaun Harper recovered it in the end zone to give the Utes 63 points.

“When you have four touchdowns on non-offensive plays, then usually [the game] will get out of hand,” Meyer said.

With all the backups in at the end of the game, plenty of cheap shots took place, which was expected after last year’s contest.

Last season, Ute offensive lineman Chris Kemoeatu was reprimanded after kicking a UNLV player with his cleats.

“We don’t like each other,” Smith said. “After the Chris [Kemoeatu] play last year, we knew it was going to get rough.”

A series of personal foul penalties put the Utes in scoring position at the 1-yard line.

With the crowd chanting “70,” Meyer had backup quarterback Adam Madsen down the ball to end the game.

“It’s hard to tell backups not to play hard with three or four minutes to go, but there was not that much time left and we had plenty,” Meyer said.

With the win, the Utes have a one-game lead in the conference standings over BYU.

“The best thing about being 7-0 is that you have a chance to go 8-0 and we are going to focus on San Diego State,” Meyer said.

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College football team rankings

ESPN/ USA Today Coaches poll

1. USC (49)2. Oklahoma (11)3. Miami (1)4. Auburn5. Florida State6. Georgia7. Wisconsin8. California9. Texas10. Utah11. Michigan12. Tennessee13. West Virginia14. Virginia15. Boise State16. Louisville17. Texas A&M18. LSU19. Purdue20. Oklahoma State21. Arizona State22. Virginia Tech23. Minnesota24. Iowa25. Southern MissAP Poll

1. USC (50)2. Oklahoma (13)3. Auburn (2)4. Miami5. Florida State6. Wisconsin7. California8. Texas9. Utah 10. Georgia11. Tennessee12. Michigan13. Virginia14. Louisville15. West Virginia16. Texas A&M17. Purdue18. Boise State19. LSU20. Arizona State21. Oklahoma State22. Virginia Tech23. Iowa24. Minnesota25. Southern Miss

MWC Standings

Conference Overall

Team W L W LUtah (10) 3 0 7 0BYU 3 1 4 4Colorado State 2 1 3 4Air Force 2 2 3 4New Mexico 2 2 4 4Wyoming 1 2 4 3UNLV 1 3 2 6San Diego State 0 3 2 5