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Mistakes make winning harder

Penalties nullify big runs by U. running back

Quinton Ganther had his second outstanding game for the Utes, rushing for 104 yards on 15 carries — his second straight 100-yard night.

But it could have been much better if two long runs hadn't been called back because of Ute penalties.

On Utah's second series of the game, Ganther got loose for a thrilling 86-yard run, only to have it called back because of a clipping penalty near midfield. Then on the second play of the second half, Ganther had a 47-yard run that was negated by a holding penalty.

Afterwards, Ganther just shrugged when asked about what might have been.

"It's pretty disappointing because I ran a long way for the touchdowns to get called back," he said. "But it doesn't really matter because we got the victory and that's what we're here for."

OTHER MISTAKES: Besides the penalties on the Ganther runs, the Utes had several other mistakes that kept them from putting the game away earlier.

Midway through the first quarter, John Madsen fumbled at the USU 18 after catching a pass from Brian Johnson. Later in the half, Dan Beardall missed a 28-yard field goal.

After the Utes went up 14-7, the kickoff went out of bounds, giving the Aggies good field position, allowing them to move close enough to try a field goal, which missed.

Ganther also fumbled at the 12-yard line late in the third quarter when the Utes were threatening to put the game away

"We had too many turnovers," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham.

GETTING STRONGER: The Utah defense got stronger as the game went along — either that or the Utah State offense got worse.

After allowing 101 yards in the first quarter, the Ute defense gave up just 157 yards over the next three quarters.

In the second quarter, the Aggies picked up 75 yards and just 25 in the third quarter when they didn't get a single first down.

USU didn't get a first down in the second half until just 8:58 was left in the game and the Utes had mostly reserves in the game.

SHUT OUT: For the second straight game, the Utes were unable to score in the first quarter. Last year, that only happened once, when the Utes failed to score against Air Force. However, the Utes ended up scoring 49 in that game. In 2003, when the Utes went 10-2, they were scoreless in the first quarter six times, in half their games.

IN ATTENDANCE: The second-largest crowd in the 105-year history of the series watched Saturday's game. The announced attendance of 44,639 was second only to the 45,224 that field into Rice-Eccles Stadium in 1999.

SURVIVING THE FIRST: The Aggies held the Utes scoreless in the first quarter for the second straight game, and last year, they held only two opponents — Idaho and Clemson — scoreless in the first 15 minutes. In 2004, the Aggies were outscored 78-33 in the opening quarter.

Two years ago, Utah State held Idaho State, BYU and New Mexico without a score in the opening quarter.

RUN, AGGIES, RUN: Utah State rushed for 78 yards in the first quarter, which was better than the final total in six games of 11 games in 2004.


Contributing: Mike Sorensen, Dirk Facer, Jay Hinton