#14 Utah Football Wins 35-7 Over San Diego State
SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah Football team held San Diego State scoreless for the three of the four quarters tonight in a sold-out Rice-Eccles Stadium, beating the Aztecs 35-7. Utah improved to 2-1 on the season as they head into conference play.
Utah finished the game with 398 yards of total offense (224 pass, 174 rush), earning 22 first downs as opposed to San Diego State's nine. Utah's defense was stingy against the Aztecs, holding SDSU to just 173 yards of total offense that included 113 yards rushing and only 60 yards passing.
The Utes went 4-for-4 in the red zone tonight against the Aztecs, producing 5.9 yards per play while keeping San Diego State to just 3.1. The Utes also wrapped up the game with 12.4 yards per completion on the night.
Quarterback Cameron Rising led the Utes through a successful air attack, going 18-of-30 passing for 224 yards and a career-best four touchdowns. He connected with seven different players tonight, led by Brant Kuithe with five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown, followed by Devaughn Vele who racked up three receptions for 38 yards and a career-high two scores.
In the rushing game, Tavion Thomas had 16 carries for 59 yards and his 25th career touchdown as a Ute with Micah Bernard averaging a solid 8.8 yards per carry on five rushes for 44 yards. Vele also led the Utes in all-purpose yards (98), adding a career-high 60 punt return yards to his stat line.
On defense, safety Cole Bishop finished with a team-high nine tackles (0.5 TFL) and a pass breakup with defensive tackle Gabe Reid adding seven stops (1.0 TFL). Lander Barton and Karene Reid had four tackles each with Reid also chipping in a career-high 1.5 TFL and an interception.
FIRST QUARTER BREAKDOWN
For the first time this season and the first time since Utah's game against Colorado in 2021, the Utes were held scoreless in the first quarter. Despite producing 89 yards of total offense in the first 15 minutes of the game, the Utes were unable to find the end zone.
Utah kept the Aztecs out of the end zone as well, holding them to just six yards passing and 29 yards rushing along with just one first down in the quarter.
SECOND QUARTER BREAKDOWN
Utah's offense found some momentum with 8:59 left in the second quarter when Rising started looking at his deep threats at wide receiver and tight end. Rising led the Utes down field by linking up with Solomon Enis and Vele for 15 and 20-yard passes before finishing off the 77-yard drive by finding a wide open Kuithe for a 30-yard touchdown to take the 7-0 lead.
Late in the second quarter, the Utes continued to find the end zone, scoring back-to-back touchdowns in under three minutes thanks to strong wide receiver play and a huge special teams turnover to take a 21-0 lead into halftime.
The Utes made it 14-0 with 2:07 on the clock with a 13-yard receiving touchdown from Enis with Utah also forcing a fumble on the kickoff, which was forced by Hayden Furey and recovered by Caine Savage, to give the Utes the ball back with 2:01 to go in the quarter.
Utah scored its third unanswered touchdown with 20 seconds left on the clock after Vele showed his athleticism by dragging his toes through the corner of the end zone to catch a 15-yard score, giving the Utes a 21-0 advantage.
THIRD QUARTER BREAKDOWN
Utah started the third quarter with the defense stepping up by grabbing its third interception of the season with Reid finding the ball for a 13-yard interception return to the SDSU 30-yard line. The Utes took over and made quick work of the short field with Thomas driving through the crowd for an 18-yard rushing score just four plays later, putting Utah up 28-0 with 11:31 on the clock.
Vele would score Utah's final touchdown with 7:34 to go in the quarter, giving him his second scoring reception of the game on a three-yard catch to give Utah the 35-0 lead. The drive was setup by a 17-yard punt return by Vele to put the Utes on their own 45-yard line with Rising hitting Micah Bernard and Dalton Kincaid for 26 and 25-yard passes to get Utah in scoring position.
FOURTH QUARTER BREAKDOWN
The Utes were held scoreless in the fourth quarter with San Diego State breaking the shutout with 3:56 remaining in the game with the Aztecs scoring on an 18-yard passing play. Utah walked away with the 35-7 lead after holding the Aztecs to just 3.1 yards per play in the fourth quarter.
The Utes will open conference play on the road, taking on the Arizona State Sun Devils in Tempe, Ariz., on Saturday, Sept. 24. The game will kick off at 8:30 p.m. MT on ESPN.