Weber State’s defense allowed 40 points and more than 500 yards a week ago, so the carnage Utah inflicted on the Wildcats’ defense Saturday afternoon was not exactly a surprise.
A small reason WSU could not hope to copy its season-opening victory and wound up on the wrong end of a 70-7 shellacking at Rice-Eccles Stadium — other than the Utes being bigger, stronger and faster — was the Wildcats’ lack of offensive execution.
Weber State stressed execution during the lead-up to Saturday’s nonconference game with Pac-12 Utah. Certainly, the young Wildcats needed a mistake-free game. Coach Jody Sears said the focus all week was refining his team’s execution.
“That’s a big, physical, explosive football team,” Sears said of Utah, not using WSU’s youth as an excuse — eight of 10 players on the offensive line two-deep are freshmen and sophomores. “That’s what we got to get, too. We’ve got to take the challenge and continue to grow the program.”
Certainly, the Wildcats needed to keep pace with Utah. But WSU’s first series was highlighted by a pair of high snaps, barely collared by quarterback Jordan Adamczyk.
Weber State punted poorly on its second possession, giving Utah great field position, and it promptly scored, capped by a 38-yard run by Ute quarterback Travis Wilson.
In fact, by the end of the first half, Wilson’s 93 yards on three carries — 89 coming on two scoring runs — outgained the entire WSU offense.
“I like the fact that our kids kept playing,” Sears said. “We got exposed … [our execution] was not good enough.”
Weber State’s best play was a reverse pass from Erik Walker to Cody Raymond for 32 yards at the Utes’ 49. Raymond acted shocked he was so alone behind the Utah secondary and didn’t immediately head upfield.
“We have a lot young kids playing this year,” WSU back Josh Booker said. “Their first couple of snaps they’re trying to get adjusted to the big stage and everything … then we just didn’t execute.”
By the time WSU gained any semblance of offensive continuity, the score was 28-0 and blood was in the water. The Utes scored three times in the final three minutes of the first half.
Meanwhile, Utah quarterbacks Adamczyk and Austin Chipoletti were a combined 7 of 15 for 39 yards. Without a pass game, WSU’s run game was also nonexistent, as the Wildcats managed 90 total yards at the half to the Utes’ 424.
• Weber State punter Tony Epperson kicks 12 times, one off the school record, for a 44.6-yard average.
• WSU manages just 69 total rushing yards for a 1.6 average. Bo Bolen leads the Wildcats with 30 yards.
• Of WSU’s 205 total yards, 75 come on its lone scoring drive in the third quarter.