They took a little while to get going, but Utah football earned its second win of the season over San Diego State at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday.
Here are three players that made an impact in the Utes’ 35-7 win.
Cole Bishop, S
Cole Bishop made his impact felt throughout the game. The sophomore safety played more like a linebacker at times against the Aztecs and led the team with nine total tackles and five solo tackles. He assisted on a tackle for loss and had a pass breakup.
One of Bishop’s best plays of the night came on third and one in the second quarter, when he and defensive end Jonah Elliss tackled SDSU quarterback Kyle Crum for a one-yard loss, forcing the Aztecs to punt the ball.
Bishop was making plays all over the field and was one of the standout players of the game. He led Utah’s defense, which played fantastic all game, holding the Aztecs to 173 total yards and just 60 passing yards.
Devaughn Vele, WR
Devaughn Vele and the Utah wide receivers finally were able to make an impact.
Through the first two games of the season, much of quarterback Cameron Rising’s targets were going to tight ends Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid.
Prior to the SDSU game, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said that the receivers needed to “demand the ball.”
“Get open. Demand the ball,” Whittingham said. “I’m not saying they are getting gloved up, but quarterbacks like to throw to open guys. You’ve got to get open if you want the ball. The tight ends are a tougher matchup right now because they’re so dominant. They’re great blockers as well. Those guys are often mismatched against safeties and linebackers. They’re almost impossible to cover.”
Led by Vele, Utah’s receivers were more productive on Saturday as Rising looked to them more.
Vele had three catches for 38 yards and two touchdowns. Vele caught touchdown passes of 15 and three yards. He also had a 20-yard completion on the first play of the game,
“They made plays. They got open, Cameron (Rising) got them the ball, and they made plays. Solomon Enis made a couple of nice plays and had a nice run after catch on a critical third down in the second or third quarter. Devaughn Vele, I’ve been talking him up all fall camp, and you saw glimpses of what his capabilities are, as he’s a big play guy,” Whittingham said.
Micah Bernard, RB
Micah Bernard was Utah’s most explosive and versatile running back on Saturday.
The sophomore ran the ball five times for 44 yards, averaging 8.8 yards per carry, and he had two receptions for 33 yards, including a 26-yard catch.
Bernard had a key 24-yard run in the second quarter on Utah’s second touchdown drive.
Bernard was able to give Utah’s offense life in the second quarter after it struggled in the first quarter.