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Utah beats Fresno State 59-27

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SALT LAKE CITY >> Utah started so fast against Fresno State in Saturday’s 59-27 win that the real competition was between Ute receivers Dres Anderson and Kenneth Scott.

“There’s always competition between us. When we were coming off the field when I scored the first one, Dres said, ‘I got to get me one of them.’ Then when he scored, I thought, ‘Oh well then,'” Scott laughed.

The friendly fight for bragging rights aside, Anderson said he’s glad Scott is back healthy again.

“It’s way easier for me now. I don’t always see a safety over the top. I’m happy because I get man coverage,” said Anderson, who had three catches for 84 yards. “We have been seeing for a long time that we’d be a great one-two combo.”

Travis Wilson threw for a career-high five touchdowns, and Scott had six receptions for 77 yards.

Wilson completed 11 of 20 passes for 181 yards and left the game early in the third quarter with Utah ahead 38-7.

“I was really pleased with the offense, the tempo and the execution,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “The offense just played a really clean game. Travis looked good today, really distributing the ball for us.”

In the third quarter, Utah’s Nate Orchard recovered a snap that went high over the Fresno quarterback’s head and ended on the Fresno State 1. Two plays later, Wilson threw his career-best fifth touchdown pass to Anderson.

Utah’s defense had seven sacks.

“Guys were just relentless, just wanted to get to the quarterback and help our DBs out and we do that by getting sacks,” Orchard said.

The next Utah possession ended with Wilson’s replacement, Kendal Thompson, scrambling 14 yards to make it 45-7 for Utah (2-0).

“We were really rolling there,” said Whittingham, whose teams have often struggled on offense and have not played in a bowl game the past two seasons.

Wilson connected with Westlee Tonga over the middle on fourth-and-1 and the tight end dragged two Bulldogs into the end zone for 24-0 Utah advantage.

“It affects your psyche when you fall behind early and you’re on the road,” Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter said.

Brandon Connette threw a 2-yard scoring pass to Malique Micenheimer to get Fresno State (0-2) within 24-7, but Utah poured it on.

Wilson, who has been diagnosed with an abnormal intracranial artery but was cleared to play, ran early and often against the Bulldogs and had his helmet yanked off, which garnered a penalty on Utah’s first touchdown drive.

“Me running every week is part of the game plan. I’m reading the defense off some of our plays and I saw some advantages I could take in running the ball,” Wilson said. “I was really happy how we made plays.”

Wilson’s 41-yard pass to Anderson led to a field goal and then he found Scott for a 7-yard touchdown reception. Just over 9 minutes into the game, Wilson hit Anderson in full stride with a 38-yard pass for another TD and a 17-0 Utah lead.

“I definitely would like to have a few more completions, but we made some big plays off those completions,” Wilson said.

The Bulldogs didn’t earn a first down until the second quarter, after gaining just 4 yards and punting five times in the initial period. Duke transfer Connette relieved Brian Burrell, who started the game 2-for-8 for 14 yards, and the Bulldogs moved down the field in the second quarter, but the drive died on a failed fourth down at the Utah 25.

Connette was 16 of 24 for 177 yards and a touchdown and ran for another. Burrell was much more efficient when he returned in the fourth quarter and threw two touchdown passes, including a 4-yarder to Greg Watson on the final play of the game.

Fresno State had not lost consecutive regular season games under third-year coach Tim Deruyter but has now suffered back-to-back blowouts, after falling to USC 52-13 in the opener.

The last Utah quarterback to throw five TDs in a game was Brian Johnson, against San Diego State on November 15 in Utah’s undefeated 2008 season. Wilson’s previous high was three TD tosses.

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