Struggle with offense doesn?t prevent victory

By By Bryan Chouinard

By Bryan Chouinard

Utah’s offense got off to a quick start against Utah State on Sept. 3, scoring two touchdowns before first time starter Terrance Cain had an incomplete pass. But it was a different story in the Utes’ first road game of the season Saturday night at Spartan Stadium.

Utah managed to find the end zone on its first drive of the night even despite Cain getting sacked on the first play of the game. The junior bounced back two plays later when he broke free for a 30-yard run, setting up an eventual one-yard run by running back Matt Asiata out of the “Asiata” formation.

But in the following quarters, the Utes’ offense sputtered. After the Spartans tied up the game at seven, the Utes failed to find the back of the end zone for the remainder of the half. In the beginning of the third, there was much of the same from Utah, penalties and missed opportunities plagued the Utes throughout the quarter and the Utes went into the fourth quarter still stuck at seven.

But the Utah offense came back to life in the fourth quarter and did so without the presence of Asiata. The first time the Utes’ offense took the field, Cain led Utah on a five-play drive going 80 yards to the end zone. The majority of the drives’ yards came on the 51-yard touchdown strike from Cain to wide out Jereme Brooks.

“I feel like every game is tough,” Brooks said. “We didn’t play our best but a win is a win.”
After stopping the Spartans’ offense, the Utes’ offense got back on the field only to score again in less than three minutes. Back-up running back Eddie Wide made his presence felt in the fourth quarter in absence of Asiata rushing for 41 yards on eight carries with the majority of his production coming in the fourth quarter. Wide’s day was highlighted by a 15-yard touchdown run to put the Utes up 21-7.

The Utah offense capped off the fourth quarter by driving 56 yards on nine plays and ate up 4 minutes and 50 seconds off the clock, concluding with the Utes’ only made field goal of the night. The drive was highlighted by a 46-yard run by freshman Sausan Shakerin, his first and only carry of the season. The drive set up Joe Phillips’ first field goal of his career.
“We could have played better,” Cain said. “But we can’t get frustrated. We need to stay poised. We are looking forward to Oregon and we need to learn from our mistakes.”

In the end, the Utes’ offense didn’t put up the score they did in week one but did account for 498 total yards, 251 of which came on the ground in the second half. Cain finished the day 18 for 31 going 247 and one touchdown.

“The bottom line is that we came out with a win although we didn’t play as efficiently as we should have,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “But, we continued to hang in and found a way to win.”

Tyler Cobb