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In last week’s debut, Utah backup QB Ja’Quinden Jackson showed a glimpse of his potential

Jackson took four snaps from the wildcat position and rushed four times for 21 yards, including a two-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Utah quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson, left, celebrates with his teammates after their first touchdown during an NCAA college football game against Washington State at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in Salt Lake City.
Utah quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson, left, celebrates with his teammates after their first touchdown during an NCAA college football game against Washington State at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 in Salt Lake City.
Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

Utah’s new backup quarterback, sophomore Ja’Quinden Jackson, made his debut in the Utes’ 24-13 win over Washington State on Sept. 25.

Jackson took four snaps from the wildcat position and rushed four times for 21 yards, including a two-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Jackson also lost a fumble just before he ran into the end zone midway in the third quarter.

After the game, coach Kyle Whittingham explained why the decision was made to play the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Texas transfer against WSU.

“He did some good things until we put the ball on the ground in the red zone,” he said. “We felt we needed more ways to run the football. It gives you better numbers. That was a way to supplement quarterback runs with another player.”

Starting quarterback Cam Rising said he enjoys watching Jackson with the ball in his hands.

“I see big man that’s running downhill. That’s what I see. He’s a force to be reckoned with when he’s running the ball back there.”

After Charlie Brewer, who started the first three games of the season, left the program in mid-September, Whittingham was optimistic about what Jackson could contribute to the offense.

“We feel like he has gotten much better in the time that he’s been here,” he said. “The injury that he had in fall camp slowed him down and kept him out for about four weeks. It’s unfortunate because he would have been further ahead had he not had that injury.”