Ever had a hard workout where you’re so sore the following day that a nice light workout helps knock out some of that pain? I think that’s what we’re going to see today with Utah. After what should have been a win a week ago, the Utes will be dialed in to try and fix what failed them.
I want to see Cam and Co. open up the passing game, attack SUU, and put some passing game on film, especially downfield. Let’s see the wideouts get downfield and attack.
And the defense, I want to see attacking the QB and shutting things down. These are obvious, of course, and we saw a lot of good stuff against Florida, but they need to clean up some areas to get back into a potential CFP bid and make another run for the Roses.
First Quarter: Southern Utah 7 Utah 7
Well, this game hasn’t gone as expected so far. Southern Utah began the game with an onside kick attempt which they recovered but the player who recovered the kick was ruled just offside and Utah took advantage of the great field position to get a 13-yard touchdown run from Tavion Thomas. On a tough run from Tavion Thomas, he fumbled the ball and Southern Utah recovered at the Utah 28-yard line. The Thunderbirds took advantage on the next play as Grady Robinson had a 28-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw. The Utes have ended the first quarter driving down to a first and goal opportunity. The Utes have looked efficient on both offense and defense but some poor mistakes have cost the Utes from building on their initial lead and the Thunderbirds took advantage on their only real offensive threat.
Second Quarter: Southern Utah 7 Utah 45
Now that’s more like it! The Utes outscore the Thunderbirds 38-0 in the second quarter to open up a big lead going into halftime. The quarter began well with a Tavion Thomas touchdown run followed quickly by a tipped pass and interception from Junior Tafuna leading to a Chris Curry touchdown run. The Utes defense has been stifling as the Thunderbirds are struggling to get even a first down and the Utah offense has been highly efficient after a frustrating first quarter. Cam Rising is 17-23 for 254 yards passing and 3 touchdown passes. Tavion Thomas has 11 carries for 48 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns. Dalton Kincaid has 7 receptions for 107 yards and 2 touchdown catches. For the Thunderbirds, Justin Miller has gone 8-16 for 30 yards passing and 1 interception. Grady Robison has 1 carry for 28 yards rushing which was the only score for the Thunderbirds in the first half. Tim Patrick Jr. has 4 receptions for 17 yards to lead the Thunderbirds. It’ll be interesting to see who gets some game time in the second half as the Utes look to close it out and add to the lead.
Third Quarter: Southern Utah 7 Utah 59
On Southern Utah’s opening possession of the second half, their quarterback threw a deep ball to absolutely no one which was intercepted and returned for a Utah touchdown. In an unsurprising move, Cam Rising’s day is done after just one half of play and Bryson Barnes gets the chance to get some reps. Bryson Barnes has mostly just handed off the football but he has gone 3-3 for 41 yards passing and even picked up a first down on a physical third-down run. Jaylon Glover got his first touchdown with the Utes. Utah is on the move again as the third quarter comes to an end.
Fourth Quarter: Southern Utah 7 Utah 73
After Southern Utah tied the game in the first quarter the Utes scored 66 points and the defense shut out the Thunderbirds to close out the first victory of 2022 for the Utah Utes. Ja’Quinden Jackson took some snaps in the fourth quarter after an impressive display from Bryson Barnes including a 16-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter. Bryson Barnes also went 6-6 for 98 yards passing. Glover capped the scoring for the Utes with an impressive 29-yard touchdown run. After a sluggish start in the first quarter, this is exactly the type of game the Utes needed after a disappointing result in Gainesville last week. The starters really only had to play one half of football and should have plenty of rest ahead of next week’s home game against San Diego State.
Next Up: Utah Utes vs. San Diego State at 8pm MT @ Rice Eccles Stadium on ESPN2