A San Diegan had a good night Saturday in Salt Lake City, but unfortunately for San Diego State, it wasn’t an Aztec.
SDSU (1-2) fell to No. 14 Utah in stinging fashion, 35-7 as wide receiver Devaughn Vele, a Rancho Bernardo High alum and a 2019 walk-on at Utah, scored two touchdowns in the victory.
One of the sophomore’s scores came in the second quarter when the reigning Pac-12 champs poured it on to build a 21-0 advantage.
The big blow followed an Aztec fumble with two minutes left in the half. Justus Tavai attempted to return the ball on a kickoff, but coughed it up, and Uta Savage recovered it at the San Diego State 27-yard line.
Despite a penalty two plays later, quarterback Cameron Rising threw a 15-yard pass to Vele with 20 seconds on the clock.
Vele wasn’t done. As the moribund SDSU performance on offense continued after the break – the team didn’t reach 100 total yards until just before the end of the third quarter – the Utes added two more touchdowns, including Vele’s 3-yard reception to make the score 35-0.
San Diego State again had to opt for alternatives at quarterback, with Will Haskell coming in for one play, before turning to freshman Kyle Crum for the rest of the game.
Starter Braxton Burmeister left the field at the close of the first quarter and never returned. Head coach Brady Hoke told San Diego Sports 760 that the unspecified injury seemed “pretty significant” at first, but appeared to be improving after the game.
The coach said the team chose Crum over the more experienced Haskell because “we thought that Kyle would give us the best opportunity.”
Yet SDSU couldn’t post its lone score until late in the fourth quarter – and they needed two tries to get it done.
A penalty negated the first touchdown, to Brionne Penny, and pushed the Aztecs back to the 18-yard line. Nevertheless, Crum connected on the next play, this time to Joshua Nicholson, to avoid the shutout.
In the end, the Utes had 398 total yards to SDSU’s 173. Rising had 224 yards on 18-of-30 passing, while the three Aztecs combined had 60 yards on 7-of-21 passing.
The Aztecs will try to bounce back Sept. 24 when they return to their new home, Snapdragon Stadium. They face Toledo (2-1), which also took a licking Saturday – No. 3 Ohio State beat the Rockets 77-21.