The Utah Utes were missing a sizable amount of players against Weber State on Saturday.
First, the good news for the Utes.
Linebacker Karene Reid, who was out vs. Baylor last week after suffering what looked like a head injury in the season opener vs. Florida, was back in action at Rice-Eccles Stadium when Utah played Weber State on Saturday.
After that, there’s a lot of bad news.
Quarterback Cam Rising and tight end Brant Kuithe remained out against the Wildcats.
The two have yet to make their season debuts while still rehabbing after ACL surgeries, though Rising has been cleared to practice with no limitations since after the Florida game and Kuithe is back at practice as well.
Elsewhere on offense, lineman Johnny Maea remained out and still hasn’t seen action this season, while wide receivers Devaughn Vele and Mycah Pittman both missed their first game of the season on Saturday.
All of those players were in addition to losing running back Micah Bernard for the season, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham announced last week.
Last season, while dealing with some injuries, Bernard played in all 14 of Utah’s games, rushing for 533 yards and four touchdowns, and he added 314 receiving yards and a score through the air.
It’s a big loss for the Utes, as the junior was Utah’s No. 2 running back and the Utes’ best pass catcher out of the backfield.
On defense, defensive tackle Junior Tafuna, who made his season debut against Baylor, was out again vs. Weber State, while defensive tackle Simote Pepa was out again for the third straight game. Defensive end Connor O’Toole also remained out.
Starting cornerback JaTravis Broughton also missed Saturday’s game.
On special teams, kicker Cole Becker was also absent, with Joey Cheek taking place-kicking duties and Chase Carter handling kickoff duties.
Carter struggled on kickoffs, with Utah giving up a few big gains on kickoff returns, while Cheek was perfect on field goals and extra points.
How many of the absences were precautionary, with Utah playing its only FCS game of the season, remains to be seen.
After the game, Kyle Whittingham said that three additional players suffered injuries during Saturday afternoon’s game, and he expects two of those players to remain out through next week.
“We’ve got to get healthy. We’ve got 15 or 16 guys that can really help us win that are not available. We’ve got to start getting them back,” Whittingham said.
The Utes open up Pac-12 play at home next week against UCLA.