Utah Football Routs SDSU, Looks Ahead to Conference Play


Jack Gambassi

University of Utah tight end Brant Kuithe (#80) celebrates with wide receiver Makai Cope (#11) after scoring a touchdown in the NCAA football game against SDSU on Sept. 17, 2022, at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sean Overton and Ethan Pearce


After scoring their most points in a game since 1973, the University of Utah football team looked to keep the ball rolling against San Diego State University. The Utes suffered heartbreak against the Aztecs last year, losing 31-33 in a triple-overtime game.


To start the game, Utah quarterback Cameron Rising showed versatility in the air and on the ground, leading the Utes past the 50-yard line. But Utah wasn’t able to finish the drive and ended up punting.

Utah’s defense got a great start, forcing SDSU to have a 3rd-and-17 from their own 1-yard line. Although the team lost Devin Lloyd last year, they continue to prove that they are a defensive powerhouse.

Both teams seemed to be tripping over themselves throughout the 1st quarter. Neither team was able to get to the RedZone, and all drives resulted in punts.

But Utah was able to find their stride halfway through the 2nd quarter as Rising hit Brant Kuithe in the endzone to put the first points on the board.

Utah’s defense stopped the Aztecs, and Utah kept its momentum up. A nine-play, 82-yard drive resulted in a touchdown reception from Solomon Enis and the 14-0 lead for Utah.

Utah kicked to SDSU after the touchdown and got a fumble recovery that set them up on the SDSU 27-yard line. Hayden Furey forced the fumble and Caine Savage recovered it to give the Utes a chance to score before halftime.

Utah was able to capitalize on their field position with Rising throwing another touchdown, this one to Devaughn Vele. Utah found their stride after a slow 1st quarter, finishing with 21 points in the 2nd and 260 yards compared to SDSU’s 43 at the half. Rising went 14-24 for 162 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Utes were also able to hold SDSU to 0-5 on third-down conversions.

Utah’s defense got the second half off to a strong start, with Karene Reid getting an interception and setting the offense up on SDSU’s 30-yard line.

Once again Utah capitalized, with Tavion Thomas getting his first touchdown of the night, rushing it in from 18 yards out.

Utah just kept going throughout the 3rd quarter. They quickly forced SDSU to punt, and quickly marched right back down the field. Vele caught his second touchdown of the night on a 3-yard pass from Rising, giving the Utes a 35-0 lead. This was the 5th straight drive that resulted in a Utah touchdown.

Utah closed out the third quarter with a 35-0 lead and an easy path to a win in their last non-conference game.

In the 4th, SDSU marched down the field and was looking in a good position to score. They went for it on 4th and 6 from the 27-yard line, but Utah got the stop and kept the Aztecs scoreless.

Utah muffed a punt and gave SDSU possession on the Utah 25-yard line. The Utes almost stopped them on 4th down, but the Aztecs were able to pull it off to keep the drive alive.

The Aztecs scored but Utah ended the game with a solid 35-7 win. The Utes will now shift their focus to Pac-12 play as they face Arizona State in Tempe next weekend.


For a second consecutive week, the Utes started the game extremely cold on offense, and for the second consecutive week, it didn’t really matter.

The poor early performance by Rising and the rest of the offense was long in the rearview mirror by the time the curtain fell on the 2nd quarter. 21-0 heading into the locker room, with two straight scores to begin the 3rd put the Utes up 35-0 without breaking a sweat. Most of the 2nd half was garbage time. The Utes’ defense played as complete of a game as possible, making sure the Aztecs felt their presence every single time they touched the ball.

The only nitpick you could have on Utah’s performance tonight is about the slow start. It’s been a characteristic of this team under Rising. It may be fine against teams like Southern Utah and San Diego State, but against a tougher opponent, failing to score on the first four drives of the game may not be permissible.

This team looks ready for Pac-12 play. The conference looks better than expected through two weeks of play. With five teams at 3-0, and the Utes and Ducks looking strong at 2-1, it may be a dogfight until the very end, especially with divisions out the window for qualifying to play in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Buckle up, conference play starts now.


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