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October 15, 2006Utah quarterback Brett Ratliff finally got sacked -- and sacked, and sacked, and sacked, and sacked and sacked.
Wyoming's defense dished Ratliff, who hadn't been sacked this season, severe grief Saturday on the way to a 31-15 win, the Cowboys' first against Utah since 1999.
Cowboys redshirt freshman Karsten Sween, meanwhile, shone in his second start, throwing for 202 yards and a touchdown and running for a 4-yard touchdown.
The touchdown gave the Cowboys (3-4, 2-1 Mountain West Conference) a 17-0 lead to open the second quarter. By early in the third, the score was 31-0.
Wyoming wouldn't score after that, but it hardly mattered.
Cowboys coach Joe Glenn credited his defense, which held the Utes (4-3, 2-1) to just 33 yards rushing and 111 yards passing. "Relentless' is the word," he said.
"They couldn't run on us. They couldn't throw on us. When you're offensive coordinator for the other team, that's a long day in the box, when anything you call just gets stuffed."
The Cowboys finished with 100 yards rushing and 202 yards passing.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham also praised the Cowboys' defense, which led the nation in pass defense before the game. "They are not full of superstars, but they play real hard and are tough guys," he said.
He said his team dug itself into "a big hole" committing turnovers.
Besides getting sacked, Ratliff had trouble with fumbles and interceptions. He fumbled late in the first half, setting up Sween for a 24-yard touchdown pass to Michael Ford that put the Cowboys up 24-0 going into halftime.
"Karsten put it in a spot where I was the only one who could get it," said Ford, who finished with five catches for 92 yards. "He believed in me, and I feel that he has confidence in me to make the big plays."
Three plays into the second half, Julius Stinson picked off a Ratliff pass and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown and a 31-0 lead. "This was our best all-around game of the season -- offense, defense and special teams," Stinson said.
Despite the wide lead, Sween said he didn't let up in the second half.
"Third quarter, we wanted to still go out and get drives going," he said. "We weren't too conservative because we didn't want to shut down and have them make a comeback."
Utah didn't score until Eric Weddle's 35-yard fumble return in the third quarter made it 31-7. In the fourth quarter, Derrek Richards scored on a 3-yard touchdown pass, and Bradon Godfrey caught the 2-point conversion to make it 31-15.
The Utes took possession once more, but Ratliff was intercepted by Dorsey Golston and the Cowboys ran out the clock.
Jake Scott gave the Cowboys a 3-0 lead with a 47-yard field goal on Wyoming's first possession, and Wade Betschart's 2-yard touchdown run made it 10-0 at the end of the first quarter. Sween's 4-yard touchdown run occurred on the first play of the second quarter.
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