Quarterback Brian Johnson rushed for three touchdowns and passed for two more as Utah built a 38-21 lead after three quarters. He completed 17 of his first 22 passes during the decisive stretch, overcoming an interception in the process. Senior receiver Travis LaTendresse had a career night.
After a sluggish start, Utah's defense locked up the Falcons when it mattered most. The Utes held Air Force to just two first downs and 42 yards of offense in the third quarter when the lead was extended to 17 points. Eric Weddle and Casey Evans each had interceptions by game's end.
The Utes more than made up for a fumbled punt return. Grady Marshall later blocked a punt, and Antonio Young recovered it to set up a score by the offense. Dan Beardall later added a career-best 46-yard field goal. Brent Casteel had a 31-yard kickoff return, and Ben Vroman had a nice debut kicking off.
Utah responded to the pressure of a possible 0-2 start in Mountain West Conference play by quickly overcoming a shaky start. Contributions came from all three aspects — offense, defense and special teams. The Utes racked up impressive statistics — despite a late-game letdown.