SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah football team wrapped up spring practices today with the annual Red-White Game at Rice-Eccles Stadium and the Red team came away victorious, 21-14.
“There were some good things today,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “The offense executed well, even though that was a really watered-down version of the offense, but it was clean for the most part. We did a pretty good job of taking care of the football. Obviously, the defense was pretty watered down as well, but what that does is give the young guys a chance to not worry and just go out and play. We saw some guys step up and make plays and that is what we wanted to see.”
The event was kicked off with the announcement of the largest gift in Utah athletics history—a $17.5 million pledge by the Ken Garff family for the Rice-Eccles Stadium renovation and expansion.
Red team quarterback Jason Shelley finished 7-of-10 passing for 87 yards and a touchdown, and added 18 yards rushing. Tight end Brant Kuithe had two catches for 51 yards, while running back Devin Brumfield racked up 67 yards and a score on 12 carries.
Tyler Huntley led the White offense, completing 8-of-9 passes for 158 yards and also rushing for a touchdown in one half of play. Bryan Thompson had the biggest play of the day, covering 59 yards after catching a pass from Huntley. Donte Banton had three catches for 13 yards.
On defense, the Red Team was led by Alassane Niang with five tackles while Semisi Lauaki contributed four tackles and a sack. On the White Team, Vonte Davis and Samu Elisaia tallied seven tackles each while Tyler Gonzalez added six stops along with two sacks.
Red struck first when Shelley scrambled out of the pocket to throw a 19-yard pass across his body to Derrick Vickers in the end zone. The 11-play, 65-yard drive was capped off by Jadon Redding’s PAT to give Red a 7-0 lead with 4:25 on the clock.
White wasted no time in tying up the game with Huntley finding Thompson open on the outside for a 59-yard gain to the Red 6-yard line. Huntley finished the play off at the 3:48 mark in the first quarter with a 6-yard rushing touchdown to tie the game 7-7, including Chayden Johnston’s PAT.
The scoring continued into the second quarter with Red striking back to take a 14-7 advantage, punching in a 4-yard rushing TD by Brumfield on the end of a nine-play, 65-yard drive that started in the first quarter. White again tied it up just minutes later when Devonta’e Henry-Cole caught a pass for 31 yards to the Red 34-yard line.
Henry-Cole finished the drive off with a 1-yard touchdown to make it 14-14 with 6:46 remaining in the second quarter.
Red took a 21-14 lead with less than a minute to play in the second quarter, culminating with a 2-yard touchdown strike from Cameron Rising to Solomon Enis. The 65-yard scoring drive got started with a 27-yard catch from Kuithe to move Red to the White 43-yard line, followed by some strong rushing by Brumfield and Rising.
It was a scoreless second half for both teams as a defensive battle ensued under a running clock. White was trying to make a play to tie the score late, but Nephi Sewell came up with a huge interception to seal the win for Red.
Utah will open the 2019 season on Aug. 29 against BYU on the road.