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Utah Defeats Rival Utah State in Opener


The only thing better than starting a new season off right with a win is beating your in-state rival and fortunately for the Utah Utes, they were able to do both in one fail swoop on Thursday night.

While most schools were still prepping for their week one match-ups, the Utes and the Utah State Aggies battled each other in their annual rivalry game in Salt Lake City. The Aggies broke a 12-game losing streak in the rivalry last season, but couldn’t start a streak of their own, as the Utes held off their formidable foe by a score of 30-26.

It certainly wasn’t easy for the Utes on either side of the ball, but quarterback Travis Wilson made his unit look good, throwing for 302 yards and two touchdowns on 17-of-28 passing. Wilson also rushed for a crucial first down on Utah’s final drive, sealing the narrow margin of victory.

Surprisingly, Utah State’s Chuckie Keeton put up even more impressive numbers under center in the losing effort. Keeton completed 31-of-40 throws for 314 yards and two touchdowns, but had to leave the game briefly early in the fourth quarter due to a cramp. The Aggies had to settle for a field goal on that drive, which only put them up 26-24 with over 11 minutes remaining in the game.

Eleven minutes was more than enough time for the Utes to march down the field twice for two field goal makes and a 30-24 lead, which they held in the final minute.

For a team that finished 5-7 a season ago and lost to Utah State, the victory is a huge step in the right direction to begin 2013. The Utes are not expected to be that competitive within the Pac-12 Conference this season, but this early win may convince some fans and bettors that they can make some noise in the talent-crowded league.

Time will only tell, but there’s no doubt that Utes fans are getting excited after beating their main out-of-conference rival and a team that won 11 games last season. The Utes were also able to snap Utah State’s seven-game winning streak from last season. And with Weber State up next week, Utah should climb to 2-0 next Saturday.

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