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Three Takeaways From Utah Football’s Win Over Weber State

Sep 16, 2023, 4:04 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utes wrapped up their out-of-conference schedule at home with a win over their neighbors to the north- Weber State.

This wasn’t the most exciting game ever, nor was it expected to be. That became even clearer when Utah football opted to give most of their starters a rest to take a closer look at their depth.

While not the cleanest or most dominate game ever for Utah, fans did get a glimpse into the future while enjoying a 31-7 victory. Here are three takeaways from Utah football’s win over Weber State.

Takeaway No. 1: Nate Johnson Has Potential

Nate Johnson got his first collegiate start, and he didn’t look too bad either. Yes, there are still some things to work on. He’s only a redshirt freshman. However, he made it very clear he has a lot of potential there to work with.

In Johnson’s debut as a starter, he was 13 of 21 passing for 193 yards and one touchdown pass. He also added 81 yards on the ground on 16 carries and one more touchdown.

Johnson for his part, however, isn’t satisfied and relayed in the post-game press conference he will be continuing to work on living up to the expectations the offense has set over the past few seasons.

“I’ve got to put more points on the board,” Johnson said. “It’s Utah football offense- last year we were averaging a lot of points per game, so I have to be able to put more points on the board. Get those assignments cleaned up.”

Takeaway No. 2: Utah Has Some Wide Receivers

Perhaps one of the bigger complaints over the first two games was not seeing much of a pass attack. Well, Utah opened it up a bit more and it looks like they have some guys they can use. Fans at this point are pretty familiar and comfortable with what Money Parks and Mikey Matthews can do, but they also got a good look at USC transfer Munir McClain who looked really good and was the leading receiver.

This was perhaps the quietest day for Matthews since he burst onto the scene against Florida hauling in two receptions for 38 yards. Parks had four touches for 35 yards and a touchdown, while McClain was explosive brining in three targets for 92 yards.

Johnson recognizes the talent he has around him in the receiver room and was happy about being able to connect with several of them on big plays, but wants to continue growing the trust in the throw game.

“My main focus is accuracy,” Johnson said. “Building trust with the coaches, building trust with the receivers and building the connections with the receivers and confidence with them as well. It felt good today- especially getting every receiver- getting the ball to them.”

Takeaway No. 3: Utah’s Defense Is Just Nasty

Linebacker Lander Barton kept Utah’s consecutive season streak with a pick six alive at 20 today. Logan Fano had a key strip sack fumble recovery while Cole Bishop had a regular sack.

Those were the highlights.

As a unit, the defense held Weber State to seven points (only 31 points total given up in three games) 127 yards of offense- 61 yards rushing and 66 yards passing.

Yeah, you could say it was “just Weber State” but this defense has done more or less similar things against two Power 5 teams so far this season too. They’ve also done it with a lot of backups in key spots.

“Defensively, I thought we played exceptionally well,” Whittingham said. “127 yards is all- that’s got to be one of the lowest totals in recent memory. One touchdown, so seven points. Good stuff going on.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Three Takeaways From Utah Football’s Win Over Weber State