Only a handful of teams are running the football more effectively than Utah is through the first two weeks of the season. In a Week 1 fist-fight with Florida, Utah ran the ball for 230 yards at 5.9 a carry. Last week, against… lighter… competition, Utah had 252 rushing yards at 6.1 a carry. The Utes have allowed only one sack in two games, the only hit quarterback Cameron Rising has absorbed in 59 dropbacks.

They’re off to a pretty good start, all things considered.

“I think it’s certainly a faster start than what we’ve had in years past,” said line coach Jim Harding this week. “But there’s plenty of things we need to work on. Including this past week, there’s still fundamentals we can continue to hone in on. This week presents a huge challenge for us. We’ve got to be ready to go.”

The Utes play San Diego State on Saturday, looking to avenge a 33-31 loss to the Aztecs a year ago.

Though the team is 1-1, it’s feeling good about the way the offense has performed. Utah entered the year needing to replace a pretty key piece upfront in Nick Ford, but Harding thinks their ability to identify the top group early has led to the fast start.

“I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that we identified the guys we thought were going to be the starting five sooner — or maybe the six, seven guys that we knew were going to be in that starting five,” Harding said. “Those guys being able to play together a little bit longer, I think helped in fall camp.”

Last Saturday’s game against Southern Utah provided the opportunity for a number of guys to see the field. Nine linemen saw at least 30 snaps in the game. Eleven in total saw the field.

Harding says they have confidence in nine or 10 games being on the field right now. He thought Saturday’s extended run was valuable.

“It gives a chance to evaluate them in a game situation versus just out here at practice,” he said. “I think we do have the depth, but certainly hope we don’t have to test the depth.”

This week’s game against the Aztecs is slated for a 7 p.m. PT kickoff on ESPN2.