No Urban Blight in Utah

Utes Capitalize on errors, too much for Falcons

Fourteenth ranked Utah used a school record tying 4 touchdowns from RB Marty Johnson to overcome a 14-0 first quarter deficit against Air Force to down the Falcons, 49-35, in a Mountain West Conference game in Rice-Eccles Stadium this afternoon.

 Chris Field- AFAFaclons Staff Writer
UTES CAGE FALCONS. The Air Force Falcons jumped to a two TD lead over the ending MWC champion Utah Utes on the strength of two first quarter TDs from freshman QB Shaun Carney.
 
The Falcons began the game with an impressive 81 yard drive in which AFA gained 43 yards on the ground and another 38 through the air--all of them coming on a third and one completion to halfback Kris Holstege--to the Utah 12 yard line. Carney ended the drive with the first of his three touchdown runs on the day. Air Force held a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
 
When Carney strutted 47 yards in the secondAFA QB runs for 47 yd TD quarter to provide the Falcons a 14-0 lead, the Utes' balanced attack, led by QB Alex Smith and Johnson, began to mesh. Johnson put the Utes on the scoreboard with 9:43 remaining in the first half with his first TD jaunt of the day.
 
After forcing AFA to punt the ball, Smith found WR Paris Warren with a 65 yard TD pass to tie the game with 3:42 to play in the opening half. The long scoring aerial opened a stretch of the game in which Utah scored five unanswered TDs in the space of ten minutes and two seconds.
 AFA RB #25 crushed
On the Falcons' first play Ute QB TDfrom scrimmage after the Warren scoring bomb, HB Anthony Butler--making his first carry in two weeks' time--fumbled the ball at the Air Force twenty yard line. Utah converted that Air Force miscue into a Smith TD run with 1:54 to play in the first half in front of a Homecoming crowd.
 
When AFA PK Michael Greenaway missed a 49 yard field goal attempt on the final play of the second quarter, Utah took a 21-14 lead into the locker room.
 
Utah carried its momentum into the second half taking the opening kickoff and marching 80 yards in 2:45 to open its lead to 28-14.  When Utah forced the Falcons to punt on its ensuing possession, kicker Donny Heaton--who had earlier boomed an AFA and MWC record setting 90 yard boot--had his effort partially blocked by Utah.
 
Urban Meyer's squad continued its relentless barrage of points by cashing in that piece of special teams' brilliance with a TD with 8:40 remaining in the quarter.
 
Air Force mounted its own rally on a drive which included a 37 yard reception by WR Alec Messerall moving the ball to the Utah 8 yard line. Carney hit TE Carsten Stahr with a  seven yard TD pass to pull AFA to within, 35-21, with 5:28 to go in the third quarter.
 
Utah's next possession began at its 27 yard line and proved to be short lived when Falcon Back Denny Poland stripped the ball away from a Utah player and DB Mark CarlsonAFA DB strips ball from Ute runner recovered for the Falcons. Air Force took full advantage of its defense's opportune play when Carney scampered three yards for his third TD of the game with 3:14 remaining in the third quarter to pull the visitors to within seven points of Utah at, 35-28.
 
When Utah couldn't move the ball and was forced to punt it back to Air Force, the Falcons set up shop at its 22 yard line to begin what it hoped would be a game tying drive. A fumble by Carney was recovered by the Utes at AFA's 42 yard line and Smith once again turned to Johnson, who produced a two yard blast, to cap a TD drive which gave Utah a 42-28 lead early in the fourth quarter.
 
Johnson scored again four and a half minutes later to move Utah into a comfortable 49-28 margin. Air Force closed the scoring when QB Adam Fitch led a drive which culminated with a TD by Eddie Moss on a 5 yard run in the final minute of play.
 Ute runner over for TD
The teams combined for 976 yards of offense with Utah amassing 505 of that figure. Air Force countered with a season high 302 yards rushing and its third straight game in which the team's FBs produced more than 100 yards on the ground.
 
Shaun Carney continued his impressive start to his college career as he had a hand in the Falcons' first four touchdowns. He completed 9 of 13 passes for 158 yards and 1TD. Through his first four games as a true freshman, Carney has completed 40 of 57 Another TD for the freshmanpasses for a 70.17% completion rate, thrown 6 TD passes and just two interceptions. He's added  296 yards rushing on 76 carries and 4 TDs.
 
Utah has opened the season with a 4-0 record, soared to 14-2 under Meyer while assuming first place in the MWC this season and will head to New Mexico to face the Lobos next Friday. Air Force will face a short week of practice before facing Navy at home on Thursday night as the battle for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy begins for 2004.  Air Force dropped to 2-2 on the season with both losses coming against nationally ranked teams, Cal and Utah.
 

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