OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – If there is one advantage Weber State has over Utah in Thursday’s season opener at Rice-Eccles Stadium, it’s that the Wildcats have played a game more recently than the Utes.
Weber State’s spring season wrapped up in April, while Utah hasn’t taken the field since last November.
“It’s been such a short time since we’ve played,” said Weber State running back Josh Davis. “I think our team has really pushed through it and done what they’ve need to do to get back. I think we’re going to come into this Utah game and show what we’ve got.”
Weber State came into Rice-Eccles Stadium three years ago, and actually led 10-0 late in the first quarter before the Utes eventually got it going in a 41-10 victory. Wildcats head coach Jay Hill, who played and coached at Utah, doesn’t think his team will be intimidated against the 24th-ranked Utes.
“We’re a way more veteran team than we were that year,” Hill said. “I know they’ve had a lot of turnover, although they’re probably just as talented. We came out of the gates in 2018 excited, ready to go, not backing down. We played good the first half, and just kind of wore out. So, hopefully we can come in, do it again, and do it for a full game.”
Weber State is used to playing in front of just a few thousand fans. But on Thursday, some 51,000 fans are going to make the newly renovated Rice-Eccles Stadium louder than ever.
“We’ll do a little crowd noise at practice, but the reality is once the ball is kicked off, it’s no different,” Hill said. “We’ve played in big stadiums before.”
But make no mistake, the Utes aren’t look past Weber to the big BYU game next week.
“They play really hard,” said Utes quarterback Charlie Brewer. “They’ve got a lot of really good players on defense. So we’re going to have to come in and play well. They win a lot of games in the FCS level, so we’re going to have to play well for sure.”
“They have an explosive offense,” added Utes linebacker Devin Lloyd. “They have a really good running back. They do a lot of good things schematic-wise. So, it’s going to be a challenge, but I think ultimately we’re a formidable team.”
The Utes and Wildcats will kick off the 2021 season at 5:30 p.m. Thursday night.