SALT LAKE CITY (AP)Cam Rising threw for 224 yards and a career-high four touchdowns in three quarters to help No. 14 Utah rout San Diego State 35-7 on Saturday night.
Rising is the first Utah quarterback since 2017 to pass for 200 or more yards in the first three games of the season. The Utes (2-1) forced a pair of turnovers and scored touchdowns following both takeaways.
Utah totaled 398 yards and held an opponent to a single touchdown for the second consecutive game. The Utes totaled 309 yards over the final three quarters.
”We just couldn’t get in a rhythm offensively (in the first quarter),” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. ”But once we got going and got momentum, the floodgates kind of opened and we put the game away mid-third quarter.”
San Diego State (1-2) lost starting quarterback Braxton Burmeister to an eye injury in the first quarter and never got on track offensively. The Aztecs failed to convert a third down until midway through the third quarter and did not surpass 100 total yards of offense until the final minute of the quarter.
”Braxton got a thumb in the eye,” Aztecs coach Brady Hoke said. ”It was just black for him at one time and blurred for most of the game. He couldn’t see.”
Third-string quarterback Kyle Crum directed San Diego State for most of the final three quarters. He threw for 53 yards and touchdown and also had an interception.
Utah roared to life on offense in the second quarter.
Rising threw touchdown passes on three consecutive drives to help the Utes take a 21-0 halftime lead. He got Utah on the board with a 30-yard strike to Brant Kuithe. His second touchdown pass was a 13-yard toss to Solomon Enis in the back of the end zone. Rising capped it off with a 15-yard pass to Devaughn Vele with 20 seconds left in the half.
We didn’t get the pressure we needed on the QB,” Aztecs defensive end Jonah Tavai said. ”Obviously, Cam Rising is a great player, and he did a wonderful job.”
Rising ended up completing 10 of 12 passes for 123 yards in the second quarter alone.
Caine Savage recovered a fumble by Justus Tavai at the Aztecs 27 to set up Utah’s third touchdown before halftime.
The Utes eventually scored touchdowns on five straight drives, culminating in Rising’s fourth touchdown pass – a 3-yard toss to Vele – that gave Utah a 35-0 lead midway through the third quarter.
”We just relaxed and started to play our brand of ball,” Rising said. ”That’s when we started to get things going.”
San Diego State: The Aztecs cycled through three quarterbacks in the first half, complicating their efforts to generate offensive momentum when the game was still within reach. San Diego State totaled 43 yards and one first down before halftime.
Utah For the second consecutive week, the Utes struggled to move the chains in the first quarter before breaking a close game open. Utah totaled 260 yards and 15 first downs by halftime. But the Utes were held to 89 yards in the first quarter and averaged only 4.0 yards per play before generating 7.1 yards per play in the second quarter.
NO PASSING ZONE
San Diego State tallied just seven yards and two completions on five pass attempts in the first half. The Utes were especially stifling in the second quarter, allowing a single yard through the air.
”We should be good back there (in the secondary) because the guys have played good football for us in the past,” Whittingham said. ”They’re very smart. They study film and they do a good job of knowing sets and personnel groups and what’s coming before it happens.”
Utah running back Chris Curry suffered a season-ending injury after tallying a single carry for eight yards. Curry ran for 81 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries while appearing in all three games this season for the Utes.
Utah could move up a couple of spots in the AP Top 25 on Monday after another dominating victory.
San Diego State: Hosts Toledo next Saturday.
Utah: At Arizona State next Saturday.
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