Utah getting better with each game

This week in Ute country had a different feel to it than the opening weekend of the season.

 

Last week against Idaho State, we saw a lot of positive things happen, but against an FCS opponent. Those big plays did not have too much stock considering it came at the hands of an inferior Bengal defense. In addition to that, the excuse of ‘first-game jitters’ was used when Utah seemed to underperform against their first real competition of the season.

 

This week, however, with the visiting Bulldogs of Fresno State in town, there were no excuses. Sure, this isn’t like welcoming in the number one team in the nation, or even a ranked opponent for that matter, but this was a legitimate FBS school that has seen success as recent as last season. The Utes needed to show up or they would have gotten embarrassed in front of their home crowd.

 

Not only did Utah show up, but it punched the Bulldogs right in the mouth from the start. With an early field goal to draw first blood, the Utes led this game from wire-to-wire as they earned their second, and definitely more impressive, win of the season.

 

The offense was clicking, the defense was suffocating, the special teams was nearly flawless and players who are supposed to make plays did. Led by the superhuman duo of Dres Anderson and Kenneth Scott, the Utah offense saw itself put up 59 points against Fresno State, topping even last week’s total.

 

On the other side of the ball, you saw all the defensive players, led by captain Nate Orchard, flying around the field, causing bad plays from the Bulldog offense, while recording seven total sacks. Utah actually resembled a Pac-12 defense, for once!

 

Now with all of that being said, don’t look that much into it. It still was only Fresno State, a team that lost a huge chunk of its offense from last season when former Bulldog quarterback Derek Carr declared for the NFL. Fresno State was a great team last season, but it was mainly because of Carr and his production. Without him, this team is subpar, evident by its play today against Utah.

 

Sorry to disappoint any over-optimistic fans out there, but this won’t be a special season for Utah. The team won’t go undefeated and it probably won’t even sniff the top 25 for quite some time, but the Utes are definitely on the rise. They did today what good teams do, and that is win the games you’re supposed to win. That is what bowl teams do and Utah is looking more and more like a postseason team the more I watch.

 

The Utes still have some major questions they will need to address before making their big road trip to Michigan to take on the Wolverines, but if Saturday afternoon was any indication, Utah is well on its way to six wins – which really is what everyone wants.

 

g.adams@chronicle.utah.edu

 

@GriffDoug

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