North Carolina fullback Madison Hedgecock, bottom, is piled on by a mass of Utah players on the tackle in the first quarter. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
Oct. 16, 2004
By MARK THIESSEN
Associated Press Writer
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Alex Smith threw four touchdown passes and run for another score to help No. 11 Utah rout North Carolina 46-16 on Saturday night.
Smith wound up 29-for-37 and 341 yards as Utah (6-0) earned its third victory this season over a team from a Bowl Championship Series conference.
Utah had 669 yards of offense.
Smith drove the Utes on four long-scoring drives, including three that went 80 yards, but he was most impressive running the 2-minute drill during a 10-play, 99-yard drive to close the first half.
The Utes drove the length of the field in 1:53, capped off when Smith hit Paris Warren with a 6-yard TD pass with 2 seconds left to give Utah a 30-10 lead.
North Carolina (3-4) was plagued by injuries. Six players, including starting quarterback Darian Durant and starting tailback Jacque Lewis, were forced from the game. A sprained right elbow sidelined Durant late in the second quarter, and Lewis went out with back contusions after carrying on the first offensive play of the game.
Utah didn't let up after halftime, taking the opening drive on an 11-play, 80-yard drive. Smith scored on a 5-yard TD run.
Then Utah momentarily stopped itself on two successive series deep in its own territory.
Johnson fumbled at the Utah 19, but the Utes' defense held the Tar Heels on fourth-and-2 from the Utah two.
On Utah's next series, Smith was intercepted on an errant shovel pass at the Utah 27, and the Utah defense couldn't keep North Carolina out of the end zone a second time.
Martin Hedgecock scored his second TD for the Tar Heels, both on 1-yard runs.
Hedgecock's first TD came on North Carolina's opening possession, but that defensive series was the only sign of sluggishness as Utah was coming off a bye week.
North Carolina's only score in the second quarter came off a 29-yard field goal by Connor Barth.
Smith threw a 15-yard scoring pass to John Madsen in the fourth, and Utah also scored a safety when a blocked punt went out of the end zone.
Besides beating North Carolina from the Atlantic Coast Conference in their first-ever meeting, Utah has bolstered its chances for a BCS bowl with wins this year over No. 23 Texas A&M of the Big 12 and Arizona of the Pac-10.