The Utes celebrated the 10th anniversary of the opening of Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday night with a halftime ceremony and postgame fireworks.
U. president Michael Young and athletic director Chris Hill honored the Rice and Eccles families with a presentation at midfield at halftime. Joyce Rice, the widow of Robert L. Rice and Spence Eccles both received framed No. 10 Utah jerseys to commemorate the anniversary.
In the inaugural game at the renovated Rice-Eccles Stadium on Sept. 12, 1998, Utah defeated Louisville 45-22.
The crowd of 45,587 was the third-largest in stadium history and was treated to a 10-minute fireworks show to the southeast after the game.
ANOTHER BIG INJURY: For the second time in two weeks, the Utes lost a starting defensive tackle as Lei Talamaivao broke his right fibula in the first half and will be lost for the season.
"That's the unfortunate part of football," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "Someone's got to step up."
Whittingham said Aaron Tonga, who is just getting over an injury himself, will have to play more, as will true freshman Sealver Siliga, who saw action Saturday. He also said freshman David Kruger may have to be brought out of a redshirt and that other players might be switched around.
"Something's going to have to happen," Whittingham said.
UNLV lost two players, linebackers Starr Fuimaona and Ronnie Paulo to injuries, which UNLV coach Mike Sanford said made a difference.
"I think losing two guys had an impact on our defense," he said.
TRICKERY: The Utes often come up with a trick play that had people talking after the game.
Saturday's play came early in the fourth quarter when running back Matt Asiata took a snap from center, faked up the middle, then lofted a perfect strike to Jereme Brooks streaking down the east sideline for a 32-yard touchdown pass.
"We've been working on that all week," said Brooks. "Right time, right moment. It was a great pass."
Asiata said he was "so scared" when the play was called, and that it was his first touchdown pass "ever."
CLEANUP: After all the miscues a week earlier against Michigan, coach Kyle Whittingham said the Utes had a lot to "clean things up" this week.
Last week the Utes were penalized 15 times for 137 yards and fumbled four times, losing two and had a pass interception.
This week, the Utes committed eight penalties for 67 yards and had just one turnover, a first-half interception by Brian Johnson.
"We cleaned up our penalties but we still had too many," said Whittingham. "But it was far less than last week."
UNLV had 12 penalties for 73 yards, with half coming on false start penalties, but didn't have any turnovers.UTE NOTES: John Peel had four punt returns for 49 yards for the Utes. David Reed had two kick returns for 69 yards ... Stevenson Sylvester led the Utes with nine tackles, while Greg Newman had eight and safety Terrell Cole, filling in for injured Robert Johnson, had seven tackles ... Koa Misi had the only sack of the game, while Newman had two tackles for losses ... Colt Sampson caught his third touchdown pass of his career and first since the 2006 season with his third-quarter TD grab ... After making four field goals a week earlier, Louie Sakoda didn't have any FGs Saturday, but made all six of his PATs, the third time in his career he's done that. He currently has 88 PATs in his career and ranks sixth on the all-time Utah scoring list ... Sakoda also averaged 46.8 yards on four punts ... Freddie Brown's third-quarter touchdown pass from Brian Johnson was his first TD ... Scouts from both the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks were on hand for the game.
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