Following its fourth straight convincing victory, a 41-7 thrashing of a pretty good Wyoming team Saturday night, the Utah football team has reached a milestone.
The Utes are ranked 23rd in the country in the latest CNN-USA Today Coaches Poll.According to Utah sports information director Bruce Woodbury it is the first time the Utes have achieved a regular-season national ranking by one of the major polls in 30 years.
The last time the Utes were nationally ranked was 1964, the year they went to the Liberty Bowl and finished 9-2. The Utes were ranked as high as 14th that season when Ray Nagel was the coach and Roy Jefferson and Pokey Allen were the stars.
"I'm very happy," said Ute coach Ron McBride. "We're off to a good start."
So now that the Utes are hotter than they've been in decades, it's just their luck they have their only bye week of the season, right?. They don't play again until Oct. 8 at San Diego State.
However, McBride is pleased that his team has no game this Saturday.
"It comes at a good time for us because we start school this week," said McBride. "This gives the players a chance to get accustomed to getting back into school and into the routine of going to class."
The Utes will hold practice as usual early in the week, but cut back later and even get a couple of days off on the weekend.
With a few extra days to prepare for their next game, the Utes will have a chance to work out a few kinks in their offense, which has been inconsistent each week.
Even though the Utes accumulated more than 400 yards for the fourth straight week, not everyone was happy with the their offensive performance.
Quarterback Mike McCoy called the offense "very average," but was very hard on himself, calling his own performance "terrible."
"It was probably the worst performance of my career," he said. "I was the missing link. We should have scored 40 points by halftime."
McCoy's "worst performance" included five touchdown passes and 16 of 29 completions for 279 yards. McBride tried to explain McCoy's displeasure.
"Mike wants to play good ball," he said. "He's a perfectionist. He knows what he's capable of doing. He probably thinks he made a few mistakes."
"As an offense we have yet to play a full game," said McCoy.
The Ute defense, called "awesome" by McBride, held their opponent under 300 yards for the fourth straight week. But even some on the defense aren't overly happy with their play.
"We have room to improve," said defensive end Bronzell Miller, who came up with his fifth sack of the season Saturday night. "Every time we look at the films, we see we need to improve. We're not No. 1 yet."
But at least the Utes can say they're No. 23.