Utes clinch outright MWC title

The battle for the Mountain West Conference title will not come down to the final game of the year, as it did last year when the Utes took their first outright MWC title in Provo, 3-0.

This year the Utes took the title in Laramie, as they defeated the Wyoming Cowboys 45-28 in a game that included a power delay that lasted one hour and 40 minutes.

Although the showdown was set for a Utah-BYU match to decide the MWC champ, the Cougars lost to New Mexico 28-21, leaving the door open to win the outright conference title.

With a huge delay and freezing temperatures, the conditions were just right for an upset in the making-but it didn’t happen.

The U football team did what it has done to every opponent it has played this year-jump on the other team early in the game.

After an early Wyoming fumble, quarterback Alex Smith ran for a 27-yard touchdown to get the Utes on the board.

The Cowboys, however, did not give in, even after U running back Marty Johnson touchdown scored to make it 14-0.

Wyoming quarterback Corey Bramlet found Javon Bouknight on a long pass for a touchdown, tightening up the game at 17-7.

But that would be the only time the Cowboys would score in the first half.

U safety Morgan Scalley completely turned the momentum in the Utes’ favor with his conference-leading sixth interception of the season.

Smith and the Ute offense capitalized on the play, when the quarterback hooked up with Paris Warren in the end zone.

The Utes were not finished.

Smith hit wide receiver Steve Savoy on a screen pass, and Savoy took it 10 yards to the end zone.

Utah was up 31-7 at halftime and didn’t let up.

On the opening drive of the second half, the Utes marched down the field and Savoy took the ball on a reverse 15 yards to give the Utes a 31-point lead.

With a 45-14 lead late in the game, the Cowboys scored 14 points in 41 seconds to diminish the lead and Wyoming became only the second team this season to cover the spread against the Utes.

Smith bolstered his Heisman rsum with three passing touchdowns and another rushing touchdown. He finished the day completing 17-of-26 passes for 245 yards.

Although the Utes clinched the conference title, next week’s game against BYU will still hold huge implications.

With Wisconsin losing, a victory over BYU could clinch a BCS bowl berth. The only team that threatens the Utes at this point is Michigan, who plays Ohio State this week. However, Michigan may be too far behind the Utes to catch them with a victory.

If the Utes do make it to the Fiesta Bowl, they will most likely play either Oklahoma or the Big East Champion. If Oklahoma falls to third, then the Fiesta Bowl gets the Big 12 champ.

However, if the Sooners make it to the national title game, then the Big East Champs will probably head to the Fiesta Bowl.

ESPN’s “College Gameday” will be in Salt Lake City for the rivalry game and also throughout the entire day to cover all of the action around the nation.

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