Utah Wins 40-17 Against Weber State In Front Of RES Record Crowd
SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah Football team walked away victorious tonight against Weber State in front of a Rice-Eccles Stadium record crowd of 51,511, winning its season opener 40-17.
Despite a slow start, the Utes were able to produce 450 yards of total offense, playing a balancing act with 262 passing yards (3 TDs) and 188 rushing yards (2 TDs) while holding Weber State to just 270 total yards and 14 first downs.
Utah got on the board on its first drive of the game, settling for a 25-yard field goal from Jadon Redding, but the lead would not last long as Weber State would score on the kickoff return. The Wildcats returned the kickoff for 100 yards to make it 7-3 with 8:26 on the clock in the first quarter, the first time the Utes have had a kickoff returned for a touchdown against them since 2016.
After over an hour of lightening delays, the Utah offense found quick rhythm on its second drive of the game. Quarterback Charlie Brewer marched the Utes downfield, connecting with Micah Bernard, Brant Kuithe and Solomon Enis to get to the Weber State 17-yard-line with Brewer finding Dalton Kincaid for a diving catch in the end zone to give the Utes a 10-7 lead with 6:07 to go in the first.
The Utes extended its lead to six after the living video game Britain Covey put the Utes in scoring territory with a juking 34-yard punt return to the WSU 17-yard-line. After Utah was unable to find the end zone, Redding knocked in his second field goal of the game with a 31-yarder to make it 13-7 with 2:53 on the clock.
The defense came up big to start the second quarter with Devin Lloyd notching his second-career interception to put the Utes on the WSU 31-yard-line. After a large gain from Covey to get the Utes in the red zone on first down, sophomore Tavion Thomas scored his first-career touchdown as a Ute on a five-yard rush to give Utah a 19-7 lead with 12:04 to go.
Weber State got to double-digit points with 10:31 on the clock in the third quarter, recording a 25-yard field goal to make it 19-10. The Utes answered though with Brewer scrambling to the outside on a second-and-three to find Enis open in the end zone for an eight-yard completion, giving Utah a 26-10 advantage with 4:27 remaining in the quarter.
Thomas scored his second touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter after the Utes forced the Wildcats to punt, gaining possession on the WSU 42-yard-line. Thomas made quick work of the short field for the Utes, breaking free for a 20-yard and eight-yard gain, followed by a 14-yard rushing touchdown to put the Utes up 33-10 with 8:44 remaining in the game.
Lloyd forced a fumble late in the game with Mika Tafua recovering the ball, giving the Utes possession on the WSU 22-yard-line. Cameron Rising entered the game for the Ute offense, scoring his first passing touchdown as a Ute on an 11-yard pass to Kincaid to give Utah a 40-10 lead.
The Wildcats would go on to sneak in one final touchdown with 2:43 left on the clock, but the Utes would leave RES with a 23-point victory.
In his first-career game as a Ute, Brewer went 19-of-27 passing for 233 yards and two touchdowns, adding four carries for 15 yards. Two of his favorite targets of the day were Kincaid and Enis with Kincaid recording a career-best 75 yards on four receptions (2 TDs) while Enis notched a career-high tying 62 yards on four catches (1 TD).
On the ground, Thomas dominated with 12 carries for 107 yards, averaging 8.9 yards per carry with two rushing scores.
Preseason All-American Lloyd was unstoppable on the defensive side of the ball, racking up a career-high 12 tackles which included 2.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, an interception and a forced fumble. Nephi Sewell and Clark Phillips III added six tackles each with Phillips also getting a pass breakup.
On special teams, Redding knocked in two field goals (25, 31) while newcomer and starting punter Cameron Peasley averaged 43.5 yards per punt with a long of 50.
As a unit, the Utes averaged 12.5 yards per catch against the Weber State Wildcats with three different players averaging over 14.0 yards per catch. Kincaid led the way with four catches and 75 yards, averaging 18.8 yards per catch while Enis averaged 15.5 and Brant Kuithe averaged 14.7.
- Utah has sold out Rice-Eccles stadium in 65 consecutive games, dating back to the 2010 season opener.
- After a tribute to Ty Jordan at the end of the third quarter break, a former Utah running back who tragically passed away after the 2020 season, the first offensive play for the Utes in the fourth quarter was a catch by Solomon Enis for exactly 22 yards – Ty's former uniform number.
- After his two passing touchdowns tonight, Charlie Brewer now has 67 career touchdown throws (65 at Baylor). With his 233 passing yards against Weber State, he also has 26 career games with 200+ passing yards.
- Tavion Thomas recorded his third-career 100-yard rushing game with his 107 yards against Weber State. His career-high is 141 yards against Alabama A&M in 2018 with Cincinnati, also rushing for 106 against ECU that year as well.
- Thomas also scored two rushing touchdowns, his second-career multi-touchdown game after scoring two against Alabama A&M in 2018.
- Devin Lloyd recorded a career-high 12 tackles and his second-career interception.
- Lloyd's interception marked the seventh straight game that Utah has recorded a pick, dating back to the 2019 Valero Alamo Bowl vs. Texas (Dec. 31, 2019).
The Utes will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 11 when they head down south to Provo, Utah to take on the BYU Cougars at 8:15 p.m. MT. The game is set to air on ESPN.