Asiata, Reed stand out in Utah victory

By By Elizabeth Frome

By Elizabeth Frome

With one game of the Utes’ 2009 schedule under their belt, the offensive team has a lot to celebrate.

Running back Matt Asiata and wide receiver David Reed combined two huge individual performances Thursday night to help the Utes clinch their 15th straight victory against Utah State. The seniors are expected to be a large part of Utah’s offensive strategy this season.
“Asiata up the middle.”

The phrase, repeated countless times throughout the Utes’ 35-17 victory, just about summed up Utah’s rushing strategy.

Asiata is no longer sharing the ball with former teammate Darrell Mack, and looked as though he is holding the position and the ball in good hands.

In the first half, Asiata rushed for 81 yards and had a reception that tacked on another 13. He put a touchdown on the Ute scoreboard off a 2-yard run in the beginning of the second quarter, helping Utah end the half up 26-17. Asiata came back with just as much momentum in the second half, scoring a second touchdown and ending his season debut with 173 positive yards on 36 carries and two receptions.

The performance marked his second career 100-yard rushing game.
Head coach Kyle Whittingham said fans can expect to see much of the same from the Utes’ run game throughout the rest of the season.

“(Asiata) is our guy and we knew that going in,” Whittingham said. “We expect a bigyear out of Matt and he’s off to a pretty good start. He wants the ball and we’re going to give it to him. He’s the guy that’s going to get the vast majority of the carries.”

Claiming a majority of the receptions was Reed. Before Thursday’s game, Whittingham
said Reed would be a name Ute fans would want to remember this season.

One game in, Reed is living up to expectations. In front of a screaming crowd of more than 45,000, Reed scored the Utes’ first touchdown of the night off a 65-yard pass by brand-new quarterback Terrance Cain. The touchdown was a career-long reception for Reed and initiated consistent scoring from the Utes for the rest of the game.
Cain, a junior college transfer to the U, looked frequently to Reed during the night to complete crucial plays.

In the first half alone, Reed accounted for 170 of the Utes’ 309 yards, gaining on rushes, receptions and kick returns.

“It was part of the game plan,” Reed said. “I take a lot of weight on my shoulders this season. I want to do everything I can for the team. We lost a lot of seniors last year, and I’m a senior now, so I want to step up and fill their shoes.”

Reed ended the night with one touchdown and 244 yards on 10 receptions
and three kick returns. It was his first career start and a career-high for catching yards.

lennie mahler/The Daily Utah Chronicle

David Reed gets pushed out of bounds by a Utah State defender in Thursday night?s 35-17 win at Rice-Eccles Stadium.