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UTAH: SPUTTERING UTE OFFENSE BECOMING THE TWIN TO THE DISMAL DEFENSE

SHARE UTAH: SPUTTERING UTE OFFENSE BECOMING THE TWIN TO THE DISMAL DEFENSE

The best thing the University of Utah can hope for now on is a .500 football season. But that prospect appeared unlikely, following the Utes' 50-10 loss to Colorado State, Saturday.

Not only are the Utes, 3-6, continuing to suffer in blocking and defense, but they are also sputtering in point production. The 10 points scored against CSU was the worst Utah output since losing 31-7 to Wyoming in 1987.Utah had its second-worst offensive outing of the year, gaining just 311 yards. That total was only one yard more than CSU tailback Tony Alford gained by himself.

Utah has weak New Mexico and powerful BYU and Air Force left on the schedule, making the Utes' chances of winning three straight unlikely. A 4-8 season appears more realistic.

What the Rams found when they traveled to Salt Lake was a team with glaring weaknesses, some even more glaring than they had anticipated. "We didn't intend to blitz that much," said CSU defensive coordinator Steve Szabo. "But then we found out they couldn't stop it."

Another telling quote came from CSU's Alford, who said, "A lot of times I didn't get touched until I was eight yards downfield."

Sometimes not even then.

The 40-point loss wasn't Utah's worst this year. The Utes fell 67-20 in Hawaii. Asked to compare the games, Ute Coach Jim Fassel said, "I don't compare wins when we win or losses when we lose."

For the record, Utah gave up 545 yards to CSU and 434 to Hawaii. The Utes gained 311 on CSU and just 227 against Hawaii. Quarterback Scott Mitchell was 17 of 30 for 171 yards and two interceptions against Hawaii; 17-36 for 258 yards and four interceptions against CSU.

Neither was a good day at the office for Fassel and his Utes. "I don't know why those days happen," he said. "I thought we were prepared. We just couldn't get anything to happen."

Fassel blamed nine turnovers on the loss to CSU; the Utes also had six against Hawaii. And, of course, there was the old complaint about the lack of a running game. Utah rushed for an embarrassing 10 net yards against CSU and 40 against Hawaii.

Fassel termed the CSU loss one of the low points of his five-year head coaching career. "Yeah," he said. "It was one of the most frustrating losses I've ever been involved with. Frustrating because we turned the ball over like that."