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Tavion Thomas - Utah Utes vs. BYU Cougars
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Kyle Whittingham Is ‘Not Giving Up’ On Tavion Thomas After Two Fumbles

Utah Utes running back Tavion Thomas (9) during a game between the Utah Utes and BYU Cougars on September 11, 2021, at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After fumbling the ball twice in as many games this season, Tavion Thomas has a big hill to climb if he wants to return to being the lead back for Utah.

Despite rushing for 107 yards and two touchdowns in Utah’s season opener against Weber State, Tavion Thomas fumbled the ball. On Saturday night in Provo, Thomas fumbled the ball on the second possession. He finished the game with 29 yards on seven carries in the loss to the Cougars.

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham talked highly of Thomas during fall camp and showed he was the lead back for the Utes after the season opener. Now that he has fumbled the ball twice in as many games this season, Whittingham is not ready to give up on Thomas.

“Yeah, it’s extremely frustrating,” Whittingham said after the game. “But you got to take care of the football, you can’t put it on the ground. There was actually another one that was stripped. Fortunately, his knee was down, so it didn’t go into statistics, but it was a strip nonetheless. He has to do a better job to secure the football, that’s job one, if he can’t secure the football, he can’t play now we’re not going to give up on Tavion by any means. But you cannot have the ball turned over. He’s just gonna have to fix that and work with him on that every single day in practice. He’s gotten better, but again saw tonight that’s two counted in two games and that’s too many.”

Thomas started his career at Cincinnati where he spent two seasons. Then he transferred to Independence Community College before joining the Utes. After Thomas went to the bench following the fumble against BYU, Micah Bernard took off and had a career night.

Utah will wrap up their non-conference schedule on Saturday, September 18 against San Diego State in Carson, California. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. MDT on CBS Sports Network.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for, Co-Host of Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.