(Thursday, September 3rd)
Final Score: (19) Utah 35, Utah State 17
Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Utah unveiled a prolific offense against an old friend, as quarterback Terrance Cain threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns while Matt Asiata ran for 156 yards and two more scores in the 19th-ranked Utes' 35-17 victory over Utah State in the season opener.
The old friend was Utah State head coach Gary Andersen, who had seen this all before, although only against him in practice. The new Aggies head coach, and the Utes defensive coordinator just last season, witnessed a 519-yard onslaught that also included a 10-catch, 172-yard performance from Utah wide receiver David Reed.
Andersen was just the third coach since 1982 to kick off a new season against the team for which he was formerly employed. It went about as planned for the Utes (1-0), who were the only unbeaten team in the FBS last season, finishing 13-0 with the nation's second ranking.
Utah has won 15 straight overall, last losing on November 24, 2007 against BYU. The Utes also beat Utah State for a 12th consecutive time.
"There were some good, some bad moments tonight," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "The offense had success moving the ball and we got a lot of production from a lot of different players. But we did turn the ball over three times. Any time you lose the turnover battle, 3-1, that's a recipe for disaster. Turnovers become more magnified as the level of competition increases so we have to make sure we secure the ball and stop putting the ball on the ground."
Utah State (0-1) had some success on offense, led by Robert Turbin's 148-yard effort, which included a school-record 96-yard touchdown sprint during a first quarter that featured four 20-plus-yard scoring plays. Diondre Borel started under center and completed just 10-of-26 passes for 121 yards and an interception.
"I'm proud of the team's toughness tonight," said Andersen. "They played tough, not letting the early lead discourage them. They played with courage. We did have way too many missed opportunities. 0-for-12 on third-down conversions is a huge concern. We also gave up too many points on special teams."
The first period included over-committing defense and plenty of fireworks on the scoreboard. Utah State's Chris Ulinski's 29-yard chip shot started the scoring, and was by far the most traditional scoring strike of the period.
The Utes fumbled on their first possession, but Ulinski misfired from 46 yards and the home-standing club grabbed the momentum. After a four-yard run by Asiata, Cain connected for the first time with Reed on a 69-yard scoring strike. He found John Peel for a 22-yard score with just over 5 1/2 minutes left in the first for a 14-3 edge.
After a penalty on the kickoff and another dead-ball infraction prior to the first snap, the Aggies broke the huddle at the four-yard-line about to ascend on school history. Turbin took the ball on a cutback carry, starting one step to his left and quickly moving right to break into the clear vacated by the anxious safeties. He was never touched on his way up the seam for a 96-yard TD run -- one yard above the previous mark set by Percy Hanson against Colorado Mines in 1920.
The Utes went on a more traditional 11-play, 75-yard march that ended with their third touchdown as Asiata crossed the goal line from two yards out for a 21-10 advantage in the second quarter.
Utah turned to its special teams to add on to its lead when Matt Martinez lunged above a blocker and swatted a punt attempt out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
Ben Vroman was true from 44 yards out just over two minutes later for a 26-13 edge. The drive was aided by the free kick and excellent field position.
James Brindley picked off Cain to set up the Aggies' final strike before halftime. The drive went just five yards, but they were big, as Borel dove to pay dirt from two yards away. The signal-caller ended the night with 48 yards on the ground.
The Utah defense, formerly led by Andersen, stood tall in the second half, keeping the Aggies off the scoreboard. Asiata's one-yard touchdown run and another safety -- this courtesy of Nai Fotu's sack in the end zone late in the game -- made the final margin.
Peel finished with four catches for 58 yards...Utah State mustered 342 total yards...The Utes have won nine straight at home...Utah leads the all-time series, 77-28-4...Turbin's rushing onslaught came on just 13 carries. He has never carried the football more than 17 times in a game, and this was just his fourth double-digit carry game...Cain, a junior-college transfer, battled for the job throughout the preseason with freshman Jordan Wynn.
09/04 03:20:17 ET