On Thursday evening, the Utes found themselves the overwhelming favorite to beat a Weber State University team coming off of an 11-win season. After a slow start, the Utes gained their footing and dominated the second half of the game to come out on top, 41-10.
After going down 0-10 early, allowing a field goal and an interception, starting quarterback Tyler Huntley found his rhythm and connected with returned missionary and new favorite target, Britain Covey, for what looks to be an amazing tandem throughout the season.
In the match’s following press conference, Huntley spoke about the apparent missteps that hindered the team’s play at the start of the game.
“We definitely had a couple of miscues,” he said. “They really showed. But afterward, we just started making plays.”
Utah began the game with a three-and-out, followed by Huntley’s first interception of the year. The Wildcats scored on the next play. Not the greatest start to a season, but as coach Kyle Whittingham noted in his post-game interview, “It’s about looking at the game on a whole, not in segments and parts.” The Utes lived by that statement as they dominated the rest of the game.
After the first quarter, the name of the game was Utah’s stout defensive stands. The teams traded three-and-outs several times throughout the course of the game. Weber State went one for 15 on third down conversions, and while not forcing any turnovers, the Utes forced 12 punts.
Utah made big plays with great passes to score a majority of their points. Zack Moss broke free for an 86-yard touchdown run, the longest in his career and fourth longest in the history of Utah football. Covey danced around Wildcat defenders for 38 yards, and Jason Shelley, who came in for Huntley late in the game, broke for a 40-yard run. Siaosi Mariner and Solomon Enis also brought down big-gain passes throughout the game.
Huntley connected with Mariner (twice), Covey, Moss and Cole Fotheringham for the team’s five touchdowns, and Matt Gay was perfect on all but one attempt, with a blocked kick in the first quarter.
All positives aside, this game was not without problem areas for the Utes. Whittingham discussed the defense’s inability to create turnovers, a category that the team has consistently ranked in the top five in for several years under his coaching. He also spoke of the slow start, and said that although the Utes turned the momentum around entirely, it is something that needs to be fixed before conference play.
“You win zero Pac-12 games starting a game like that,” Whittingham said.
Utah will hit the road next week to take on the Huskies of Northern Illinois University. You can catch that game on the Pac-12 Networks.