Pac-12 football: No. 24 Utah, No. 25 Arizona State roll FCS opponents
Charlie Brewer threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns in his Utah debut to help the No. 24 Utes beat Weber State 40-17 on Thursday night.
Dalton Kincaid caught four passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns in the opener for both teams. Tavion Thomas ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries in his Utah debut.
Brewer beat out Cameron Rising for the starting quarterback job in camp and did not disappoint. He was crisp on many throws and gave Utah a legitimate passing attack it lacked at times last season.
“I thought he was very poised in the pocket,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “He did a nice job keeping his eyes downfield. He was accurate. Did a good job of running the offense.”
Bronson Barron threw for 213 yards and a touchdown for Weber State, but the Wildcats had just 57 yards rushing.
“We did not do a good enough job of getting yards on the first down which put us in too many third and longs,” Weber State coach Jay Hill said.
Weber State took a 7-3 lead when Rashid Shaheed cut to the edge and returned a kickoff 100 yards untouched. He tied an FCS record with his sixth kickoff return for a touchdown.
The teams then retreated to the locker rooms with 8:26 left in the first quarter because of a lightning delay that lasted 90 minutes.
Utah marched down the field quickly after play resumed. The Utes covered 75 yards in five plays, culminating in a 17-yard pass from Brewer to Kincaid, to go back ahead 10-7. Brewer completed four passes on the drive, including three in a row to get Utah into the red zone.
Devin Lloyd snagged a tipped ball at the Weber State 31 to set up a 12-yard touchdown run from Thomas that extended Utah’s lead to 19-7 in the second quarter.
Lloyd had 12 tackles, a forced fumble and a sack to go along with that interception.
“We had been in worse situations I felt like and came back,” Utes cornerback Clark Phillips III said. “That was just a stumbling block we were excited to attack.”
Weber State had a chance to cut the deficit to five before halftime after mounting a 17-play drive and reaching the Utah 1. The Wildcats could not punch it in, coming up short on fourth down when Brandon McKinney stopped reserve quarterback Creyton Cooper for no gain.
“I do like the resilience and toughness of our football team, and I think we will get better,” Hill said. “This is a real team.”
The Utes shut the door on a potential comeback when Brewer connected with Solomon Enis on an 8-yard pass that made it 26-10 late in the third quarter.
It also shut the door on some early sloppiness on offense. Utah scored on two of its next three drives to put the game out of reach.
“It starts with me. I feel like I can play a little bit better,” Brewer said. “I thought it was a good starting point. Now we can kind of figure out what exactly we need to get better in.”
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No. 25 Arizona State 41, Southern Utah 14
TEMPE, Ariz. — Darien Butler had two interceptions and No. 25 Arizona State used its punishing run game to overcome some sloppy moments in a season-opening 41-14 win over Southern Utah on Thursday night.
The Sun Devils were a bit rusty to start a season of high expectations, committing numerous miscues on special teams and 13 penalties for 135 yards.
Arizona State still proved to be too much for the FCS Thunderbirds (0-2), forcing four turnovers and running for six touchdowns to win its 22nd straight home opener.
Rachaad White and DeaMonte Trayanum each ran for two scores.
Expectations were on the rise in the desert headed into this season, coach Herm Edwards’ fourth at Arizona State.
The roster is full of players Edwards recruited, with talent and experience at nearly every position — a combination that put the Sun Devils among the favorites to win the Pac-12 South.
The first test was going to be more about themselves than the opponent.
The Thunderbirds went 1-5 during a pandemic-delayed spring season and were picked to finish 11th of 13 teams in the Big Sky. They also lost to San Jose State 45-14 five days earlier, so it wasn’t expected to be much of a fight.
The rout appeared as it would start right away, even as the Sun Devils kept getting in their own way.
Facing pressure on Southern Utah’s third play of the game, Justin Miller threw the first of his three interceptions right to Arizona State’s DeAndre Pierce, who returned it 34 yards to the Thunderbirds’ 4. Trayanum scored easily on the next play.
Southern Utah fumbled on its second drive — after getting a first down on an Arizona State roughing the kicker penalty — and White followed with a 26-yard TD run.
The Thunderbirds finally got something going on offense, setting up Judd Crockett’s 7-yard touchdown run.
The momentum ended quickly with another turnover, Miller’s second interception, and White followed with a 1-yard touchdown run. Trayanum’s 20-yard touchdown run put Arizona State up 28-7 at halftime, well on its way to a lopsided-but-sloppy opening win.
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