Go Utes!
Go Utes!
No. 10 Utah Enters Final Third of the Season Against New Mexico

Matt Asiata leads the Utes with 10 touchdowns.

Matt Asiata leads the Utes with 10 touchdowns.

Oct. 27, 2008

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> No. 9/10 Utah (8-0, 4-0 MWC) plays at New Mexico (4-5, 2-3 MWC) on Saturday, Nov. 1. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. MT in University Stadium. The game will be televised live on The Mtn. Radio is KALL 700 AM.

> Utah has cracked the top 10 for the first time since 2004, climbing to No. 9 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll and No. 10 in the Harris and Associated Press polls. The Utes are also No. 10 in this week's BCS standings, which includes a tie for No. 7 in the average computer rankings. See pages 3-4 for more on this week's national rankings.

> Utah is off to the fourth 8-0 start in school history (also accomplished in 1930, 1994 and 2004). Should Utah beat New Mexico this week, it would mark just the second time a Utah team has started the season 9-0. The 2004 Utes finished the season with a 12-0 record.

> Utah leads the series with New Mexico by a 30-17-2 count, but it's all tied up in Albuquerque, 12-12-1. For more on the series, see page 2.

> Louie Sakoda has been named a 2008 Midseason All-America place kicker by CBSSports.com, The Sporting News Today and Rivals.com. Defensive end Paul Kruger made the CBSSports.com Midseason All-America team.

> Senior Brian Johnson has tied the school record for most wins by a starting Ute quarterback with 21. Johnson, who is 21-7 as the starter, matched the record set by Alex Smith (21-1 in 2003-04).

> Utah's last two games against TCU (Nov. 6) and Brigham Young (Nov. 22) are sold out, which will guarantee a school record for ticket sales for the 2008 Utah football team.

Utah's history against New Mexico as a ranked team has been spotty. In 1994, Utah was 8-0 and ranked No. 8 (Coaches) and No. 9 (A.P.) when it lost at New Mexico, 23-21. In 2003, a 6-1 Ute team with wins over Cal and No. 19 Oregon, had just broken into the national rankings (No. 23 Coaches, No. 24 A.P.), only to lose to the Lobos 47-35. The No. 14 Utes broke the jinx in 2004 when they improved to 5-0 with a 28-7 win over UNM in Albuquerque.

As the head coach, Kyle Whittingham is 3-0 coming off bye weeks. Utah's byes have all been at approximately the same time in his four years, falling on Oct. 29, 2005, Nov. 4, 2006, Nov. 3, 2007 and Oct. 25, 2008. Wins after the bye weeks came against Wyoming in 2005 (43-13) and 2007 (50-0), and Colorado State in 2006 (35-22).

Utah's offense erupted for 49 points against Colorado State in a 49-16 win in Rice-Eccles Stadium on Oct. 18. The Utes, who scored on their first drive when Brian Johnson found Freddie Brown for a 32-yard touchdown pass, piled up a season-high 549 yards of total offense. Led by backup quarterback Corbin Louks' career-high 109 rushing yards, the Utes also produced a season-best rushing game with 327 net yards. Everyone from the offense got into the act, with Johnson throwing for 185 yards and two touchdowns, Louks scoring on touchdown runs of 21 and 69 yards, receivers Brown (78 yards) and David Reed (73 yards) having career days, and running back Matt Asiata scoring two touchdowns. Utah's defense got tough after giving up a touchdown on its first series and held CSU to three points in the second half. Stevenson Sylvester had nine tackles, a forced fumble and a pass breakup and CSU converted on just 3-of-15 third down attempts.

The Utes are on a record pace for home attendance, averaging 45,274 through four games. Three crowds have exceeded the seating capacity (45,017) of Rice-Eccles Stadium, including 45,599 against Oregon State--the third-biggest attendance ever for a Utah home game. Utah's final two home games are already sold out.

Nose tackle Kenape Eliapo is expected to return to action this week. Eliapo broke his foot in the season-opener against Michigan and has missed the last seven games. He was the starter before the injury ... 15 different players have scored a touchdown for Utah this year. Utah has scored touchdowns by rushing (20), receiving (14), punt return (1), interception return (1) and fumble return (2) ... Six Utes have completed a pass this year: quarterbacks Brian Johnson (137-208), Corbin Louks (3-5) and Chad Manis (3-4); receiver Jereme Brooks (1-1); punter/kicker Louie Sakoda (1-1) and running back Matt Asiata (1-1) ... Two true freshmen have played in games: OL Tony Bergstrom and DT Sealver Siliga. Six redshirt freshmen have played, including starting nose tackle Derrick Shelby.



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