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Weather impacts size of crowd

Rain fell throughout Utah's 63-28 victory over UNLV. The moisture, combined with cool temperatures (46 degrees at kickoff), played a role in Saturday's game.

"The weather played a factor in that every seat wasn't filled. I was kind of anxious to see our Rice-Eccles Stadium packed again," said Utah coach Urban Meyer. "I guess we have to wait a couple of weeks for Colorado State to fill it up."

A season-low crowd of 40,341 braved the conditions, though most cleared out by the end of the third quarter. Despite the dip in attendance, the Utes are still drawing fans at a record pace. They're averaging 43,781 per game—significantly higher than last year's record of 41,478.

Utah still has home games remaining against CSU on Nov. 6 and BYU on Nov. 20.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: For the second consecutive game, Utah took a knee on the 1-yard line as time expired. The latest decision came despite a plea to Meyer from third-string quarterback Adam Madsen to go for it.

"It serves no purpose to score at the end of the game. You can run the clock out," said Meyer. "If there were three or four minutes left I would probably let them (try to score). How can you tell your third- and fourth-string guys not to play hard."

BOWL-A-RAMA: The possibility that Utah could end up in the Bowl Championship Series is something the AutoZone Liberty Bowl isn't worrying about — just yet.

Harold Graeter, associate executive director of the Liberty Bowl, said officials at headquarters in Memphis, Tenn., are taking a wait-and-see approach to the situation.

Graeter, who attended Saturday's game in Salt Lake City, said it's nothing new. The Liberty Bowl dealt with such speculation before when Tulane, BYU and TCU were in BCS contention.

The Mountain West Conference champion is contractually obligated to meet the Conference-USA champ in the New Year's Eve bowl game.

RECORD RETURN: The kickoff return for a touchdown by Morgan Scalley, with a little help from Bo Nagahi, tied the Utah record for longest return ever — even if it was perhaps the longest ever.

According to NCAA rules, the longest kickoff return can only be 100 yards. Utah has had six previous 100-yard kickoff returns, the most recent being Erroll Tucker against BYU in 1985.

But Nagahi took the ball at least five yards deep in the end zone, making it 105 yards, unofficially. Who knows if any of the other six 100-yarders topped the Nagahi-Scalley touchdown.

The last time a Ute returned a kickoff for a touchdown was during the 2000 season when Patrick Dyson went 98 yards for a TD against Air Force.

EXTRA POINTS: Utah is the only MWC team that UNLV has not beaten. The Utes have won all six meetings and nine straight overall against the Rebels . . . Defensive back Eric Weddle led the Utes with 11 tackles . . . Defensive lineman Sione Pouha left the game with a sprained knee early in the game . . . The YES Network, which carries New York Yankees and New Jersey Nets broadcasts, televised the game . . . NFL scouts from the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins were in attendance . . . A writer from Sports Illustrated covered the game.


E-mail: dirk@desnews.com