Utah finishes season at 12-0

Urban Meyer adds another coaching honor.

Utah's Quinton Ganther rushes for a TD in the first quarter.

The Associated Press
Published: Sunday, January 2, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 2, 2005 at 1:35 a.m.
TEMPE, Ariz. - Unpredictable, unstoppable, and unbeaten. Oh yes, Utah deserved to play in a BCS bowl.
The fifth-ranked Utes, behind the cool efficiency of Alex Smith, used their baffling spread offense and an underrated defense to dominate 19th-ranked Pittsburgh 35-7 in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday night.
Smith completed 29 of 37 passes, four of them for touchdowns, for 328 yards and the Utes sacked Pitt's Tyler Palko nine times, a Fiesta Bowl record.
Smith, a Heisman Trophy finalist who is considering going to the NFL after this, his junior, season, also rushed 15 times for 68 yards.
Paris Warren caught 15 passes, breaking the Fiesta record of 11 set by Kellen Winslow of Miami in the 2003 national championship loss to Ohio State.
Warren, who transferred from Oregon in 2002, had 198 yards receiving, third-most in Fiesta Bowl history. Smith's 78 percent completion rate was also a Fiesta Bowl mark.
Coach Urban Meyer punctuated two memorable years in Salt Lake City with the Utes' first unbeaten, untied season since 1930. He leaves for Florida after making Utah the first team from outside the six BCS conferences to force its way into a Bowl Championship Series game.
Utah (12-0) scored touchdowns on five of its first seven possessions, including all three in the third quarter.
Out of a dizzying array of formations, the Mountain West Conference champs kept the Panthers (8-4) off balance all night with everything from option plays to a handful of shovel passes. The Utes scored one touchdown on a reverse and another on the old ''hook-and-ladder'' play.
Meyer picked up another honor Saturday night, winning the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award from the Football Writers Association of America. Meyer already had won the Home Depot Coach of the Year award.
Meyer, who was The Sporting News coach of the year last season and the Mountain West Conference's coach of the year each of the past two years, will be officially honored with the Eddie Robinson award before the Gators' 2005 opener against Wyoming.

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