Utah coach Kyle Whittingham didn't mince his words after losing running back Matt Asiata to a season-ending knee injury in Saturday's 30-14 win over Louisville.
"We'll miss him," he said. "We will miss Matt Asiata. There's no doubt."
Asiata tore his right ACL while scoring on a 24-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Eddie Wide then stepped in as the featured back and tallied a career-high 129 yards. With third-stringer Sausan Shakerin out with shoulder and wrist injuries, receiver Shaky Smithson became the backup and had four carries for 18 yards. Whittingham said the latter could become a full-time move considering Utah's injury situation.
"We're getting real thin at back," Whittingham said. "... We'll find a way to piece it together."
INJURY UPDATE: Whittingham said that Asiata may be in line for a sixth year of eligibility. It's something the Utes will explore if it's something Asiata wants to pursue.
Left tackle ZaneBeadles, meanwhile, said the contusion on his left leg wasn't real serious and he expects to be back for the Colorado State game on Oct. 10.
Whittingham said the team's injury picture will be more clear Sunday when medical evaluations are made.
40TH VICTORY: Whittingham became the fifth coach in school history to reach 40 wins. He reached the milestone in his 55th game and fifth season at the helm. Of the four other coaches to reach the milestone, Whittingham's climb is the second fastest — trailing only IkeArmstrong (1925-49), who did it in 51 games. RonMcBride (1990-2002), JackCurtice (1950-57) and RayNagel (1958-65) notched their 40th victory at Utah in their 70th, 72nd and 73rd games, respectively.
ARMPATCHES: Whittingham and Kragthorpe sported "Coach to CureMD" arm patches during the game. The AmericanFootballCoachesAssociation asked its membership to do so Saturday to help build awareness of DuchenneMuscularDystrophy, a genetic disorder that primarily affects pre-teen boys — taking away their ability to walk and lowering their life expectancy to the 20s.
FAMILIARFACES: Besides ex-Utah State head coach BrentGuy directing the defense, Louisville's offensive coordinators also have ties to the Beehive State. Offensive line coach and running game coordinator BrentMyers coached Utah's offensive line in 2003 and former Utah State quarterback MattWells is the Cardinals' quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator.
HOMECOMINGCROWD: The announced attendance was 45,588 — the sixth largest in Rice-EcclesStadium history and 256 higher than the Sept. 3 season opener against Utah State.
"We needed it. The fans were wonderful. They came through and helped us," said safety RobertJohnson, who noted that Louisville had trouble communicating on some third-down situations. "They did real good. I'm just happy with the support after the Oregon game."
After two games, the Utes are on pace to break the program's single-season attendance record of 45,542 per game set last season.
EXTRAPOINTS: KoaMisi and KepaGaison topped the Utes with seven tackles apiece ... JustinTaplin-Ross led Utah with two pass breakups and drew praise for his play from Whittingham ... Louisville's VicAnderson, who entered the game averaging 101 yards rushing, finished with just 22 ... Utah baseball coach BillKinneberg, who led the Utes to the MWC title and NCAA tournament, was presented the DonReddishAward during the first quarter ...The men's basketball team was honored at halftime for winning the MWC championship ... Scouts from the Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings attended the game.
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