No. 11 takes high-scoring offense to Wyoming

Halftime can’t come soon enough for teams that play No. 11


The Utes, who have the third-ranked scoring offense in the

nation at 49 points per game, have outscored their opponents 101-7

in the second quarter alone this season.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham can’t explain his team’s

second-quarter success, though he wouldn’t mind someone else

clueing him in: ”If we could figure that out and play every

quarter like the second,” he said, ”then we’d have something


Utah (5-0, 2-0) will try to make everything work for four

quarters again on Saturday, when it visits Wyoming for what sure

looks like another Mountain West mismatch.

The Utes will try to rack up some style points after falling out

of the top 10 last week, despite pounding Iowa State 68-27 on the

road. They’ve scored more than 50 points in their last three games,

but the competition hasn’t exactly been impressing pollsters.

”This team is very hungry, very focused and very grounded,”

Whittingham said. ”And even though we’ve had some games where

we’ve played very well, they understand there’s always room for

improvement, and the coaching staff as well.”

The Utes are led by quarterback Jordan Wynn, who has thrown for

seven touchdowns and is averaging 244 passing yards a game, despite

missing two games because of injury. His top target, wide receiver

Shaky Smithson, is third in the nation in punt return average and

has the ability to make plays that most others simply cannot


It helps that the shifty receiver is playing with plenty of

confidence and focus.

”He’s doing a good job, making decisions, making people miss,”

Whittingham said, ”and his teammates are doing a nice job getting

some running room for him.”

Few people expect Wyoming to give Utah much of a challenge, so

the focus will largely be on trying to get everything tuned up for

the rest of the schedule. After the Cowboys and Colorado State next

week, the Utes begin a bruising stretch of Air Force, TCU and Notre


It’s a stretch that could define their season, and burnish their

BCS credentials.

Wyoming (2-4, 0-2) isn’t about to roll over, though, and the

Cowboys certainly aren’t going to be intimidate by playing the

11th-ranked team in the country. After all, this is the fourth time

they’ve already faced a team in the Top 25.

If you count No. 23 Air Force, which wasn’t ranked when they

played, it’s been five teams.

That all adds up to the third-toughest schedule in the nation,

according to Sagarin computer ratings. Not surprising, the Cowboys

have been mostly overwhelmed: 34-7 to Texas, 51-6 to Boise State,

45-0 to TCU and a 20-14 loss tot he Falcons.

Their wins have come against Southern Utah and Toledo.

Add to that the traffic death of a player earlier this season

and it’s an understatement when Cowboys coach Dave Christensen

describes the first six weeks as ”a challenge.”

”I just have so much respect for them,” he said, ”because of

everything that they’ve had to go through, the type of schedule

we’ve played, to keep coming back, keep having positive attitudes

and still be excited about playing.”