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3 takeaways from Utah’s season-opening 40-17 win over Weber State

SHARE 3 takeaways from Utah’s season-opening 40-17 win over Weber State
Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid (86) celebrates his touchdown during opener against Weber State at Rice-Eccles Stadium in SLC.

Utah Utes tight end Dalton Kincaid (86) celebrates his touchdown during the season opener at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Utah opened its season with a 40-17 win over Weber State in front of an announced sellout crowd at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Thursday night.

Here are three takeaways from the Utes’ win.

Charlie Brewer shows why he was named the starting QB

Charlie Brewer had a solid first outing as Utah’s starting quarterback.

A four-year starter at Baylor, Brewer transferred to Utah this offseason and looked comfortable leading Utah’s offense. Brewer played for all of the first three quarters and one-fourth of the final quarter before Cam Rising replaced him with the game in hand.

Brewer finished the night 19-for-27 for 233 yards and two touchdowns. He could have had two more if not for dropped touchdown passes by receivers that led to Utah settling for field goals.

Brewer was pretty much mistake-free, save for a planned last-second Hail Mary heave at halftime that ended up as a Weber State interception.

He looked every bit the four-year Power Five starter, looking calm in the pocket and generally making good decisions and on-point throws. He was accurate and didn’t force too many throws.

Tavion Thomas looks like Utah’s No. 1 running back

Independence Community College transfer Tavion Thomas separated himself from Utah’s crowded running back field on Thursday.

Utah’s depth chart released before the Weber State game listed four running backs — Oklahoma transfer TJ Pledger, LSU transfer Chris Curry, Micah Bernard and Thomas — at RB1.

Thomas, listed at 6-foot-2, 221 pounds, got the bulk of the carries on Thursday, carrying the ball 12 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns. He did fumble in the third quarter after being stripped by Kalisi Moli. Thomas ran tough and was able to generate some nice yards after contact.

Bernard looked like a solid No. 2 back with six carries for 35 yards, while Pledger had two carries for 10 yards and Curry had three carries for 8 yards.

Mistakes need to be cleaned up

Utah’s special teams, usually a highlight for Kyle Whittingham-coached teams, was a low point against Weber State.

First, there was the 100-yard kickoff return by Rashid Shaheed to score the first touchdown of the game. No Ute was even close after his first cut.

Two mistakes were made by the PAT team — first, personnel confusion forced Whittingham to take a timeout. Later, a delay of game on a PAT led to a missed PAT after the penalty.

Receivers dropped two touchdown passes in the red zone, and the offensive line could have got more push in the run game. There were plenty of mistakes that need to be cleaned up before next week.


Utah 40, Weber State 17

Utah scored twice to put a stamp on the night.

Running back Tavion Thomas, who looked like the No. 1 back on Thursday, scored a 14-yard rushing touchdown and Dalton Kincaid caught his second touchdown of the night on an 11-yard pass from Cam Rising, who replaced Charlie Brewer with the game in hand in the fourth quarter.

Bronson Barron threw a 2-yard pass to Hayden Meacham late in the quarter to cap off a 75-yard drive against Utah’s second-string defense.

End of 3rd quarter

Utah 26, Weber State 10

Weber State added a field goal after Kalisi Moli forced a Tavion Thomas fumble. The Wildcats could not punch in a touchdown in the red zone and settled for a field goal to cut Utah’s lead to nine points.

Utah added to its lead later in the quarter with an 8-yard pass from Charlie Brewer to Soloman Enis with 4:27 left in the third quarter.


Utah 19, Weber State 7

Utah scored six points on a 12-yard rushing touchdown by Tavion Thomas at the start of the second quarter, set up by a diving interception by Devin Lloyd.

Utah’s defense bent but did not break on a goal line stand around the middle of the quarter, stopping the Wildcats four times from the one yard line. Lloyd, Nephi Sewell and Brandon McKinney were key in stopping Weber State.

New Utah quarterback Charlie Brewer looks good. He’s played a clean game and is 11-for-17 for 137 and no real mistakes. He’s had two touchdown passes dropped by receivers. His stat sheet will show that does have one interception, but it was on a Hail Mary attempt at the end of the half.

End of 1st quarter

Utah 13, Weber State 7

Weber State took an early 7-3 lead on a 100-yard kickoff return by Rashid Shaheed before the lightning delay.

Utah would regain the lead with a 17-yard pass from Charlie Brewer to Dalton Kincaid that capped off a 75-yard drive and tacked on three more points on a field goal from Jadon Redding.

A couple missed opportunities from Utah, as TJ Pledger and Cole Fotheringham both dropped what looked to be sure touchdown passes from Brewer, leading to the two field goals.

Game resumes after 90-minute weather delay

The game has resumed after a 90-minute delay.

Game in weather delay

The Utes and Wildcats are in a lightning delay with 8:26 to go in the first quarter after a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Weber State’s Rashid Shaheed. Utah struck first with a 24-yard field goal from Jadon Redding.

Pre-game prep

Here’s a few preview articles to get you ready for the game: