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Utah football: Asiata injury leaves a void

Published September 26, 2009 11:12 pm

Eddie Wide filled in well against Louisville, Shakerin returns from injury soon.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

When star running back Matt Asiata was forced to leave the game because of a knee injury suffered in the first quarter, it would have been easy for panic to set in. But backup Eddie Wide was prepared. He didn't have time to panic.

"You always gotta be ready," Wide said. "I just had to pick up the rifle and keep going. It was important to open up the running game."

Wide certainly did that as he had 129 yards on 19 carries to help the Utes to a 30-14 win over Louisville at Rice Eccles Stadium on Saturday.

By the end of the game, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham learned Asiata will miss the rest of the season because he tore his anterior cruciate ligament. It's a big blow to the offense but Whittingham has complete confidence in Wide.

For Wide, it was just the validation he needed after rushing for minus-3 yards on two carries in a disappointing 31-24 loss to Oregon last week.

"With Eddie's production, he had a great night. We gave him a chance and he did a nice job.," Whittingham said. "If he can keep that up, we may not have to change our thinking [on offense] at all."

Wide wasn't the only one who stepped up in Utah's running game. Quarterback Terrence Cain finished the game with 51 rushing yards on 14 carries and Shaky Smithson made a contribution with four carries for a total of 18 yards.

The Utes hope to get a boost when redshirt freshman running back Sausan Shakerin returns from injury. He hurt his wrist and shoulder and missed last week's game at Oregon as well as Saturday's game.

"We will miss Matt," Whittingham said. "But we will find a way to piece it together."

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Asiata's gradual rushing decline

Asiata game-by-game rushing statistics

Att.YdsTD
vs. Utah State361562
vs. San Jose State20941
vs. Oregon15540
vs. Louisville3261