He plays hard. Chris and some of those older guys play extremely hard and I'm extremely proud of him. We will challenge him to continue to lead the young guys and keep growing and building this thing. —Jody Sears, Weber State head coach

SALT LAKE CITY — The bright lights set on the big stage of Rice-Eccles Stadium sure shed light on Weber State's (1-1, 0-0) deficiencies in its matchup against Utah (2-0, 0-0) Saturday afternoon in front of 45,035 fans.

The ’Cats got trounced 70-7 and gave up a staggering 628 total yards as the Utes easily poked holes in their defense, giving them their first taste of big-boy football this season.

The Utes exploded for 264 yards while putting 49 points up on the board in the first half, and they only possessed the ball for 10:06 of the 30-minute half.

Utah quarterback Travis Wilson was especially impressive as he completed 14 of 19 passes and finished the game with 357 total yards and five touchdowns in just 30 minutes of action to power the red and white.

Despite the tough defensive outing and loss, Weber State safety Chris Wheeler's performance was a bright spot for the struggling Wildcats. He showed some leadership on the field, totaling a game-high nine tackles and two tackles for loss to anchor an over-matched defense.

"He plays hard. Chris and some of those older guys play extremely hard and I'm extremely proud of him. We will challenge him to continue to lead the young guys and keep growing and building this thing," said head coach Jody Sears.

The Utes opened the second half with the majority of their starters on the bench, but WSU's defense still struggled to find a way to stop the bigger and stronger Utah offense.

However, the purple and white finally started to put some offense together as the ’Cats scored on their first possession of the third quarter.

Jordan Adamczyk marched his team downfield and set up Josh Booker's three-yard rushing touchdown to give the Wildcats their first and only score of the game.

Following the score, Weber State couldn't seem to hold on to the football and failed to get any more points. The ’Cats only got across midfield twice over the entire course of the game and had only 205 total yards of offense.

"This game will raise the bar and the expectations. Those guys in there aren't going to go kick rocks. When you get bucked off, you get back on," Sears added. "We've just got to grow from this and we've got to be ready. We'll look at the film, make some corrections and get better. We can't let this game define our season. If you want to be a championship team, you've got to be able to play with the Pac-12 teams for longer than a quarter."

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Weber State will next travel to Romney Stadium in Logan to take on Utah State at 6 p.m. Saturday night.

Ryan Love is a full-time student studying communications at the University of Utah, and a part-time sports reporter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News.

Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724

EMAIL: rlove@deseretnews.com