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MWC's best D? Not against U.

Utah's Travis LaTendresse catches a ball ahead of SDSU's Stephen Larsen. LaTendresse caught one of Alex Smith's career-best 5 TD tosses.
Utah's Travis LaTendresse catches a ball ahead of SDSU's Stephen Larsen. LaTendresse caught one of Alex Smith's career-best 5 TD tosses.
Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News

SAN DIEGO — So much for that vaunted San Diego State defense that was supposed to be the strength of the team.

The Aztecs came into the game with the No. 1 defense in the Mountain West Conference and No. 27 in the nation.

However, the Utah offense made the Aztec D look like a sieve, scoring on its first seven possessions and not even needing to punt until midway through the third quarter. If the Ute defense had played like it had for most of the season, the game would have been over long before the fourth quarter.

As it was, the Utes were happy to go home with a 51-28 victory, which moved them to 8-0 on the season.

Ute quarterback Alex Smith made a triumphant return to his hometown, where his career had started so inauspiciously two years earlier.

Smith threw five touchdown passes, his career high, hitting Paris Warren and Steve Savoy with a pair apiece and Travis LaTendresse with the other. For the night, Smith completed 21 of 31 passes for 288 yards. Smith also ran for 47 yards.

In fact, Smith opened the game with four straight running plays, covering 18 yards. Several of his runs on the night weren't called such as the time he ran up the middle on a third down play to keep a scoring drive alive in the third quarter.

Smith's favorite receiver Saturday night was Paris Warren, who caught nine passes for 103 yards, including the first two touchdowns of the night. The first came on a shovel pass up the middle covering five yards, while the second was a 10-yarder into the right front corner of the end zone.

Before the half was over, Smith had two more touchdown passes, to Savoy from 18 yards on the same pattern he hit Warren on in the first quarter, and a 3-yarder over the middle to Latendresse, following a blocked punt.

In the second half, the Utes finally got a rushing touchdown when Marty Johnson scored from 4 yards out and Smith hit Savoy with his fifth TD pass of the night from 22 yards out.

By scoring 51 points, the Utes topped the 40-point mark for the sixth game this season and will likely remain No. 2 in the nation in scoring behind Boise State.

Freshman David Carroll had a perfect night in his second start. Carroll booted three field goals, more than the team has made all season, from 27, 36 and 23 yards out and also made six PATs.