Let’s just say that No. 14 Utah’s running game has kind of been a high-wire act this season.
Where to begin?
The Utes lost Chris Curry to a season-ending injury.
Micah Bernard (218 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns) has been the most consistent of the group, but he’s been dealing with injuries.
The team’s second-leading rusher this season is actually quarterback Cam Rising (308 yards, 6 TDs), though he missed the WSU game due to an injury.
True freshman Jaylon Glover has seen considerable playing time and he had an impressive outing against WSU, rushing for a career-high 76 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
“It says he was ready when his number was called,” said coach Kyle Whittingham. “He had a great week of practice. He was not the Florida player of the year for no reason. He’s really good. We had faith in him. He’s got a bright future here.”
Nobody expected Glover to be the Utes’ workhorse back this season, but here we are. At least, that was the case in Pullman.
And the guy that was supposed to be the workhorse back for the Utes, Tavion Thomas, a 1,000-yard rusher a year ago, has had plenty of ups and downs. He’s rushed for 414 yards and five touchdowns.
But Thomas also missed the WSU game.
There’s been plenty of drama surrounding Thomas. In Utah’s 43-42 win over USC on Oct. 15, Thomas reportedly left the game early. Whittingham has been somewhat cryptic and vague in his comments about Thomas.
Thursday, hours before kickoff, Thomas tweeted out his support of his teammates, which was the first indication that he wasn’t going to play against the Cougars. Still, there’s a possibility that he could be back next week.
“Tavion — hopefully we can get him back soon,” Whittingham said. “We’ll see.”
The Utes host Arizona next week. The Wildcats face No. 10 USC Saturday.
Whittingham’s teams have long been known for their rushing attack. It’s fallen short of expectations so far this season. The Utes rushed for 169 yards against Washington State.
“Two-hundred (yards) is our benchmark,” Whittingham said. “If we get 200-plus, that’s what we ideally like to do. We’ve fallen short of that for a few weeks now. We’ll just keep on working on it.”