SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Cameron Rising threw for 254 yards in the first half, Dalton Kincaid had 107 yards receiving and two touchdowns and No. 13 Utah routed Southern Utah 73-7 on Saturday.
Coming off an opening loss last week at Florida, Utah scored on nine consecutive drives, including eight touchdowns, over the final three quarters against the FCS Thunderbirds (1-1). The Utes had 599 yards of total offense.
As six-touchdown underdogs, the Thunderbirds weren’t afraid of taking some risks. They started the game with an unsuccessful onside kick that led to a 13-yard touchdown run by Tavion Thomas.
Southern Utah got a break when Thomas fumbled later in the first quarter and Rodrick Ward recovered. On the next play, Grady Robison tied it at 7 on a quarterback draw that went for 28 yards. Utah didn’t allow any gains of 10 yards or more the rest of the game.
Thomas scored on another touchdown run early in the second quarter. Utah then turned a fourth-down stop of the plucky Thunderbirds into a field goal and a diving interception by Junior Tafuna into Chris Curry's TD run.
Rising unleashed more of Utah’s vertical passing game, which was absent against Florida, and capped the first half with three touchdown passes to the Utes’ prolific tight ends — two to Kincaid and one to Brant Kuithe. Utah gained 250 yards of offense in the second quarter.
On the first possession of the second half, R.J. Hubert took an interception 39 yards for a touchdown. With the huge lead, most of Utah’s stars watched the rest of the game from the sideline.
The Ute defense held the Thunderbirds to 85 total yards despite scoring quickly throughout the game. The blowout marked Utah’s highest-scoring game since beating UTEP 82-6 in 1973.
Southern Utah: The Thunderbirds were overmatched at every position but had a nice moment when they tied it in the first quarter. After two seasons with only two wins, the Thunderbirds are rebuilding and were helpless to stop the Utes once they got rolling.
Utah: Despite a turnover, nine penalties and some missed assignments, almost everything the Utes tried was successful in spades. The starters were able to rest and some of backups had a chance to show their talents in front of a sun-drenched home crowd.
Utah tumbled out of the top 10 after the Florida loss, but should maintain its position.
Longtime NFL players Eric Weddell and Chris Kemoeatu were honored as part of this year’s University of Utah Athletics Hall of Fame class.
Southern Utah: At Western Illinois next Saturday.
Utah: Hosts San Diego State next Saturday night.