- Kevin Gemmell, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Utah Utes continued their second-half surge -- not unlike the Utah Utes of 2011 -- and blew out the visiting Washington State Cougars 49-6.
The victory leaves the Utes (4-5, 2-4 Pac-12) needing two wins in their final three games to keep their streak of eight straight postseasons alive. Washington State coach Mike Leach, however, sees his run of 10 bowl games in 10 seasons come to an end as the Cougars (2-7, 0-6) have been eliminated from postseason contention.
John White ran for two touchdowns and caught a third from quarterback Travis Wilson, who was an efficient 17-for-21 for 171 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. White carried 18 times for 101 yards and had touchdown runs for 47 and 2 yards.
Utah moves to 11-0 when White carries for at least 100 yards.
I can't leave out Utah's Reggie Dunn, who returned the opening kickoff of the second half 100 yards for a touchdown. Dunn returned two kickoffs for 100 yards last week. A pair of Coleman Petersen field goals and a 9-yard touchdown run from Lucky Radley rounded out the scoring for the Utes.
Washington State and Leach's vaunted Air Raid offense again struggled. The Cougars were held to 255 total yards by a stingy Utah defense, which forced a pair of turnovers, including an interception by Reggie Topps, and six sacks.
It was almost the third time this season that Washington State's offense had been kept out of the end zone, but a 5-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Tuel to Kristoff Williams on the game's final play prevented the shutout.
Utah's offense, however, didn't have many issues against a Washington State defense that had shown some improvement in recent weeks. The Utes totaled 453 yards of offense, including 205 yards on the ground.
"We're starting to figure it out," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham told the Pac-12 Network after the game. "We've still got work to do, but when you look at the last four weeks, I think we've taken a step forward in each of those four weeks and we're closer to where we need to be."
27mChantel Jennings and Ted Miller