Wide receiver John Madsen holds on to the pass to score a touchdown against Wyoming free safety John Wendling during the second quarter. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
Nov. 5, 2005
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah's Brian Johnson passed for a career-high four touchdowns and ran for another score and kept the Utes in contention for a bowl berth with a 43-13 win over Wyoming on Saturday.
The Utes (5-4, 3-3) gained 563 yards against the top-ranked defense in the Mountain West Conference and extended the Cowboys' losing streak to four straight.
Utah also beat Wyoming (4-5, 2-4) for the sixth straight time despite playing without leading rusher Quinton Ganther, who had his left knee drained during the week and watched from the sideline.
The Utes were fine without him, although it took a little while to get going, and got back above .500 for the first time since a three-game losing streak knocked them to 3-4. With games remaining against New Mexico and Brigham Young, the Utes can become bowl-eligible with one victory and likely lock up a third-straight postseason berth with wins over both.
Utah also contained Wyoming receiver Jovon Bouknight, who finished with just four catches for 43 yards. Bouknight had consecutive four 100-yard receiving games entering Saturday.
The Cowboys were held to just two field goals by Deric Yaussi until a 14-yard pass from Corey Bramlet to C.J. Brewer with 52 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
After struggling through the first quarter, Utah pulled away with touchdowns on four straight possessions in the second and third periods.
Johnson threw two touchdown passes to John Madsen late in the first half and ran in for a 3-yard score after the Utes recovered a fumble deep in Wyoming territory in the third quarter. Johnson also had short scoring passes to Derrek Richards and Ameen Shaheen while passing for four touchdowns in a game for the first time.
Dan Beardall kicked three field goals for the Utes.
Wyoming had the top overall defense in the Mountain West entering Saturday, holding opponents to an average of 339 yards per game. The Cowboys were also allowing just 23 points a game, second in the MWC, but gave Utah easy scoring chances with turnovers and short punts.
The Utes scored the game's first touchdown on an 11-yard pass from Johnson to Madsen with 2:13 left in the first half. Utah got two sacks on the next possession and forced the Cowboys to punt with 1:13 still to play in the quarter.
Adam Brooks shanked the kick for a 20-yarder that set up the Utes at their own 40 and Johnson opened the drive with a 20-yard run. Johnson and Madsen connected for a 22-yard gain, then on third down from the 12 Johnson threw another scoring pass to Madsen to put the Utes up 20-6 with 10 seconds left in the half.