Utah State 7

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Utah 31

(2-0, 2-0 home)

8:00 PM ET, September 10, 2005

Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT

1 2 3 4 T
USU 0 7 0 07
UTAH 0 14 7 1031

Top Performers

Passing: B. Johnson (UTAH) - 268 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: Q. Ganther (UTAH) - 15 CAR, 104 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: J. Madsen (UTAH) - 8 REC, 155 YDS, 2 TD

Utah 31, Utah State 7

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Despite having a new quarterback and new receivers, Utah's passing game looks just fine so far.

Brian Johnson passed for a career best 268 yards and threw two touchdown passes to John Madsen in Utah's 31-7 victory over Utah State on Saturday, extending the Utes' winning streak to 18 games in a row.

Madsen also had a career night, catching eight passes for 155 yards to help lead the Utes to 510 yards of offense.

"He put the ball right where it needed to be. All I have to do is get open and catch it," said Madsen, who atoned for fumbling inside the Utah State 20 with his first multi-touchdown game.

Quinton Ganther ran for 104 yards on 15 carries for his second 100-yard game of the season and the Utes (2-0) won the state rivalry for the eighth straight time. Utah also remained unbeaten under new coach Kyle Whittingham, scoring 31 straight points after falling behind 7-0.

"We missed more tackles in the first half than we normally miss in three games," Whittingham said. "We came back and we were able to put it away when we had the opportunity.

The defense held the Aggies, who were playing their first game under coach Brent Guy, to 258 yards of offense and only 95 yards passing.

Utah's offense, meanwhile, flourished like it did in last year's 12-0 season with quarterback Alex Smith. Smith and the Utes' top two receivers from 2004 are gone, but Johnson and Madsen showed the Utes can still move the ball through the air.

Madsen topped his career high for receiving yards, set two years ago against Texas A&M, by 73 yards.

The Utes flustered Utah State quarterback Leon Jackson III in his first start and the Aggies had a woeful night on special teams. A fumbled punt set up one touchdown for the Utes and a punt that sailed into the first row behind the Utah bench set up another.

The Aggies started five freshmen and never recovered after Utah scored three touchdowns between the end of the second quarter and early in the third.

"Even our older guys were missing tackles, so I can't blame the entire thing on our youngsters," Guy said. "We didn't have pre-game jitters. We just couldn't convert and we lost our composure before the half."

Jackson was 12-for-25 for 95 yards and was Utah State's leading rusher with 18 carries for 87 yards.

Utah State led 7-0 through much of the second quarter, but from there it was all Utah.

"I felt like we got in a rhythm there in the second half," Utah defensive coordinator Gary Andersen said. "I think it was a definite improvement."

Fans huddled under blankets in the crisp night and many of the 44,639 attending were gone by the fourth quarter, when the temperature had dropped to 50 degrees. A few still remained for the end as the Utes celebrated extending the nation's second-longest winning streak.

Ganther wore down the Aggies by trying to run over or through whoever was in his way.

"They opened up holes for me to run through and when I get through the holes it's my decision to punish them or make them miss," Ganther said. "Sometimes it's just instinct for me to lower my shoulder."

Johnson completed 18 of 21 passes and outdid his 220 passing yards in the season opener against Arizona. Johnson also had a 2-yard touchdown run for Utah's first score.

The Utes scored two touchdowns in the final 3:03 of the second quarter and another early in the third after a fumbled punt gave Utah the ball at the USU 17.

The three touchdowns put Utes in command and Utah all but sealed it with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Madsen, who missed much of fall camp with a hamstring injury, with 13:10 left to play.

Madsen, who had never caught more than one touchdown pass in a game, caught the ball in the right corner despite having Utah State freshman Marquise Charles on his back.

Utah State, which trailed 20-0 after the first quarter against the Utes last year, took its first lead in the series since 2001 when Ryan Bohm scored on a 3-yard run early in the second quarter.

Utah answered with on Johnson's 2-yard run and after Utah State punted from its own end zone, Eric Weddle returned the kick 22 yards to the USU 30. Johnson threw a 10-yard pass to Madsen on first down and Madsen broke a tackle and ran in to put Utah up 14-7.

The Aggies forced the Utes to punt on the opening possession of the third quarter, but Kevin Robinson bungled the kick when he tried to field it on the bounce. Utah recovered at the 17 and Ganther scored on a 2-yard run with 12:18 left in the third.

"It just bounced and it came right to me. I was surprised when it hit me. I just dropped the ball. They recovered it," Robinson said.