LAS VEGAS – Utah’s offense scored touchdowns on its first three drives of the game and went out to an early 24-10 lead over Colorado State in the first half of the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl.
The Utes’ defense stymied Dee Hart, Treyous Jarrells and the Rams’ rushing attack, allowing just 13 rushing yards in the first half while the Utes’ offense did most of its damage on the ground, amassing 203 rushing yards and three rushing scores through two quarters.
CSU received the ball first but had to punt to Utah after a quick 3-and-out. On Utah’s first offensive play of the game they called a trick pass play and picked up 36 yards. The drive ended with Utah quarterback Travis Wilson running into the end zone untouched for the 8-yd touchdown with 12:37 left in the 1st quarter.
After another Rams three-and-out, Utah running back Troy McCormick burst for a 49-yard run which set up Delshawn McClellon for the wide open 16-yard touchdown catch to give Utah a 14-0 lead with 8:29 left in the 1st quarter.
On CSU’s next drive, a pass interference call on Utah’s Dominique Hatfield set them up close enough to the end zone to attempt some trickery of their own. Grayson lateraled the ball to Lovett who then passed it back to Grayson for the 39-yard score to make the score 14-7 with 5:42 left in the opening quarter.
After scoring, CSU attempted a tricky kickoff and tried to recover but instead gave Utah great field position at its own 40-yard line. The decision came back to bite the Rams, as Utah running back Devontae Booker was handed the ball on first down and took it 60 yards for the touchdown to increase the Utes’ lead to 21-7 with 5:30 left in the first quarter.
CSU’s Rashard Higgins was able to haul in a 59-yard catch from Grayson which set up a Roberts’ 41-yard field goal to decrease the Utes’ lead to 21-10 with 2:09 left in the first quarter.
The first turnover of the game occurred early in the second quarter when Utah’s Travis Wilson overthrew his receiver and the Rams’ cornerback Deandre Elliot was able to make the pick, however, the Rams weren’t able to capitalize on the turnover and had to punt on their ensuing drive.
Andy Phillips connected on a 38-yard field goal with 8:25 left to give the Utes a 24-10 lead. Phillips missed a last-second 38-yard field goal and the score at halftime remained 24-10.
Collegian Sports Reporter Steven Jacobs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @steven_jacobs_