Published November 20, 2014
Terrance Cain might have to give up Utah's starting quarterback job when Jordan Wynn gets healthy.
But if Cain does end up heading back to the bench, he'll have a record to take with him.
Cain completed 20 of 23 passes to set a school record for completion percentage in a game and Shaky Smithson capped a three-touchdown surge in the third quarter with a 73-yard punt return as No. 14 Utah beat New Mexico 56-14 on Saturday night.
"It's great to have that stat but the most important stat is to get the victory," said Cain, who completed 87 percent of his passes. "That's all I'm worried about."
Cain finished with 248 yard and a career-high three touchdowns for the Utes (3-0, 2-0 Mountain West Conference). He broke the completion percentage record held by his quarterback coach, Brian Johnson.
Wynn started Utah's first game but has sat out the last two with a sprained thumb.
"The receivers ran great routes," he said. "The offensive line was holding them great. Running backs, tight ends and receivers were making great catches so it was just my job to get them the ball. They're working their butts off to get open so I just have to get them ball."
After A.J. Butler returned a fumble 27 yards for touchdown to pull the Lobos (0-3, 0-1) within 21-7 to open the third quarter, the Utes responded quickly.
"If we let the turnover and the touchdown get us down, it's a momentum shift," Cain said. "We had to get the momentum right back and strike back. Then our defense got pumped and made a great play and it just started from there."
Cain found Jereme Brooks for a 75-yard score and on New Mexico's next possession, linebacker Matt Martinez went 36 yards with an interception return for a score.
Smithson followed with his touchdown and finished with 223 total return yards.
"You really don't want to think too much," he said. "You just want to execute whatever the coach calls. And I know my teammates are going to make great blocks, and I all have to do run the ball, then just make a couple people miss. All the great special teams players just make a couple of people miss."
New Mexico played without starting quarterback B.R. Holbrook because of a knee injury. Replacement Brad Gruner went 3 for 8 for 33 yards and ran for 32 yards before leaving with an injury.
New Mexico has been outscored 180-31 to start the season in a stretch that has included two ranked teams.
"That was a very good Utah team, very deserving of the No. 14 ranking," Lobos coach Mike Locksley said. "I am disappointed that we didn't play as well as I had hoped we were going to play. We just finished a very rough three-game stretch."