Ram slam

After the U football team’s first offensive possession, it was obvious what would happen the rest of the game-complete domination by Alex Smith and the rest of the Ute offense.

Too bad the starters only played for a little more than one half.

Smith hooked up with Paris Warren four times on a drive, which included a fourth-down conversion on a Steve Savoy rush. Smith then found Warren in the end zone to give the Utes a 7-0 lead.

Colorado State, on its first possession, tried to make a push down the field. The Rams were in the Ute red zone when quarterback Caleb Hanie fumbled and safety Morgan Scalley took it back 88 yards for the score.

The play conjured up memories of last year’s fumble recovery by Arnold Parker, which gave the Utes the victory.

“I was just fortunate to be the one to pick it up at the time,” Scalley said. “That play was for my boy [Dave] Revill.” Revill forced the fumble that led to the Parker touchdown last year.

The difference this year was that the Utes didn’t need the touchdown recovery to win the game.

The Utes won the game 63-31 and are 9-0 for the first time in school history.

“This is a very good school and I am honored to be part of the team that was the first to go 9-0,” U coach Urban Meyer said.

“We are close but we still have two games to go and we need to focus,” U quarterback Alex Smith said.

Focus is exactly what the Utes did on the Rams, as they jumped all over them. The Utes kept extending the lead with each offensive possession.

Each game the Utes have jumped all over their opponents from the outset, and Smith attributes that to “preparation.”

Scalley agrees.

“The coaches prepare us so well for what we are going to see each week and we play well,” Scalley said.

The Ute first-team offense was spectacular. With a 14-3 lead, the offense took the ball down the field and did not even experience a third-down situation. Smith hooked up with Warren again in the end zone to give the Utes a 21-3 advantage.

Although the defense was giving up yards to the Rams, turnovers allowed the first defense to only allow 10 points in the first half.

Scalley, who already had a fumble recovery, picked off an errant Hanie pass and the Ute offense capitalized.

In just one play, the Utes found the end zone, as Smith hit Savoy on a 22-yard strike.

Ute running back Marty Johnson added two short touchdown runs before the end of the half to give the Utes a 42-10 lead going into the break.

The Ute defense kept capitalizing on big plays, as safety Eric Weddle almost returned a fumble all the way back for a touchdown and also made a great interception.

Meyer called of the dogs early in the third quarter after Johnson added another touchdown run, as the second team came into the game.

Meyer had much praise for his starters, but his backups did not receive the same compliments.

“Our twos were not good tonight and they need to learn how to finish games,” Meyer said. “We were having three and outs on offense and our defense was just letting them score,” Meyer said.

Besides a touchdown run from backup quarterback Brian Johnson, the backups were awful.

The Rams took advantage of the Ute defensive backups, as they scored three touchdowns in three consecutive possessions to narrow the score down to 56-31 with seven minutes remaining in the game.

Meyer then brought the starters back in the game.

“With seven minutes left, the game could get a lot different if we didn’t do something,” Meyer said.

The starters shut the door on the game, as Smith did not miss a single pass on the drive and finished it with a touchdown pass to Warren.

Warren finished the game with three touchdowns and 10 catches.

Smith bolstered his Heisman hopes by completing 21 of 26 passes for 294 yards and four touchdown passes.

The Utes are two games away from finishing the regular season undefeated and now will head to Laramie to face Wyoming. Game time is set for 5 p.m. and will be televised on ABC.

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