Utah quarterback Travis Wilson honored his former teammate and childhood friend Nick Pasquale during Saturday’s game against the Beavers by wearing a sticker with “NP” on his helmet and “Rest in peace 36” on his towel.
Pasquale, who had played with Wilson since the two were 6 years old and was a sophomore receiver for UCLA, was fatally hit by a car early last Sunday.
Wilson said this week he was having a difficult time with his friend’s death and he wanted to win for him.
The two helped San Clemente High finish 12-2 and earn a No. 17 national ranking in 2011.
“He was an amazing kid,” Wilson said earlier in the week. “He really wasn’t the biggest kid or the strongest kid on the field, but he had the biggest heart of anybody I have known.”
Pasquale was honored with a moment of silence and a release of 200 blue and gold balloons before Saturday’s UCLA-Nebraska game.
Wilson plans to attend Sunday’s services for Pasquale in San Clemente, Calif.
Guests in town
The Utes hosted several recruits with Florida connections for Saturday’s game.
Three players hail from Miami’s Booker T. Washington, one of the nation’s best high school teams in the country.
Receivers Lamar Parker (5-foot-8, 170 pounds), a West Virginia commit, and Deltron Hopkins (5-8, 160), an Appalachian State commit, were in town along with teammate Nigel Bethel II, (5-8, 168), a corner who has committed to Miami.
The Utes also are hosting Juwan Dowels, a 5-11, 160-pound corner out of American Heritage in Plantation, Fla., and Brandon Snell, a 6-1, 190-pound receiver out of Garden City Community College in Kansas who prepped at Carol City High in Miami.
Dowels committed to Northern Illinois in July.
All of the recruits are considered Dennis Erickson recruits and represent Utah’s first real push into Florida for players.
The Utes also hosted Jeff Farrar, a 6-1, 193-pound receiver from Upland, Calif., who has committed to Virginia.
Starting linebacker Jacoby Hale didn’t dress for Saturday’s game due to injury. Defensive end Trevor Reilly, also listed as a linebacker, started in his place.
Different point of view
Receiver Kenneth Scott, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the first game of the year, watched his teammates warm up from the sidelines.
Scott said he plans to recover faster than doctors predict and viewed Saturday’s game as a chance to do a little prepping.
“I’m watching and getting my mental reps in,” he said.
Utah athletic director Chris Hill acknowledged the 8 p.m. kickoffs are hard on the athletes and make for long days for fans. Saturday’s game was the first of at least three 8 p.m. kickoffs in a row. Like Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, Hill preferred afternoon games.
He said his ideal kickoff is “1:30 p.m. and on natural grass.”