Moss Rushes for 150 yards; Utah rolls over Weber St., 41-10
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah players found themselves down 10-0 and saw its in-state underdog opponents celebrating on the other sideline.
Zack Moss and the Utes turned the tables in a hurry.
“We weren’t nervous. We knew adversity would come at some point,” Utah wide receiver Britain Covey said after his first game since 2015. “We know what we’re capable of.”
After the initial hiccup, Moss rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown and added a receiving score to power Utah to a 41-10 win over Weber State on Thursday night.
“The O-line started getting into a rhythm and I was just being patient … knowing we’d make a play sooner or later,” Moss said.
The big plays suddenly came easy and often as the Utes responded with 587 yards and Moss claimed the fourth-longest run from scrimmage in school history when he ran untouched for an 86-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Utah’s Tyler Huntley overcame an early pick to throw for 253 yards and four touchdowns. The Utes showcased a balanced offense of 294 yards on the ground and 293 through the air.
“Our mindset was that we weren’t going to lose,” Hundley said. “Nobody was nervous.”
The Wildcats stunned Utah with two quick scores, capitalizing on a muffed punt and an interception. The Wildcats players danced and hooted as Utah’s 52nd consecutive sellout crowd went quiet.
“We couldn’t get out of our own way at the start,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “It was a comedy of errors.”
But Weber State couldn’t generate anything after that and Utah scored 41 straight points and yielded just 61 yards of total offense, the third lowest mark all-time. The Wildcats’ longest play from scrimmage was 10 yards.
Eventually the Wildcat defense wore down and everything Utah tried — from jet sweeps to fly patterns to runs up the middle — looked effortless as the Utes pulled away and allowed second- and third-team players plenty of action.
“I thought we were playing dang good defense there for a while and then we went a little haywire there,” Weber State coach Jay Hill said.
Utah’s defense had almost as many tackles for loss (11) as Weber State had passing yards (13) to help the Utes overcome a 4-0 turnover deficit.
“We’re not going to win any games in the Pac-12, going minus-4 in turnovers,” Whittingham said and emphasized that the Utes have room for plenty of improvement.
Weber State: The Wildcats hope to follow up their best-ever season in 2017 with another record-setting campaign despite the result in this one. Weber State is ranked No. 8 in the FCS but will need to improve their offense as freshman QB Kaden Jenks went 4-for-20 for just 10 yards.
Utah: The Utes established their tradition program hallmarks with stout defense and a lethal run game for another season. The Utes added an array of offensive fireworks, but had a field goal blocked and committed those four turnovers — a concern going forward.
Weber State: The Wildcats visit Cal Poly on Sept. 8.
Utah: Next Saturday, the Utes will play at Northern Illinois, Utah’s first-ever Mid-American Conference opponent.
After taking two years off to serve an LDS mission in Chile, Covey showed he hasn’t lost any of his elusive moves. The shifty receiver had a jaw-dropping rush that criss-crossed the field on a run-pass option and ended up with 64 yards rushing and 53 receiving yards on six catches. “He’s such a weapon for us,” Whittingham said, “He is multi-talented and we need to get the ball in his hands 15 times a game.”
Eight of the Wildcat coaches either played or coached at Utah before coming to Weber State, including Hill who played as a safety and coached with the Utes for 13 years. WSU is now 0-5 against Utah. “I thought they came out of the gate not intimidated and excited about the atmosphere and then we proceeded to get our butts kicked,” Hill said of his players.
The Wildcats ran 53 offensive plays to gain 61 yards as nothing came easy. “It was a great defensive game,” said Marquise Blair, who led the Utah secondary with blanket coverage and two pass breakups.