Utah to be shorthanded at running back against Washington State
Utah will be seriously shorthanded at running back Thursday night against Washington State.
According to reports from those in Pullman for the game, neither Micah Bernard nor Tavion Thomas will be available for the Utes. It was speculated prior to gametime on Thursday that Thomas would be unavailable after he commented on a team Instagram post saying he would be “watching (and) cheering.” It’s unclear what is keeping either tailback off the field.
Can confirm that Micah Bernard will not go tonight for Utah in Pullman.
Utes are also down Tavion Thomas.
Whether or not Jaylon Glover is ready, there doesn't appear to be a voice.
— Josh Newman (@Joshua_Newman) October 27, 2022
Thomas leads the team in carries this season. He has 414 yards and five rushing scores, averaging 4.5 yards a carry. Bernard is second among backs with 47 rushes for 217 yards and two scores. (He’s also a dynamic weapon in the pass game.)
Without either, Utah will turn to freshman Jaylon Glover and converted quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson.
Glover has 37 carries for 153 yards and two touchdowns so far this season, but he hasn’t touched the football since the team’s Oct. 1 win over Oregon State.
Jackson was moved to tailback after Utah lost reserve running back Chris Curry to a season-ending injury. He had nine carries for 31 yards and a touchdown in the win over Arizona State on Sept. 25, but has five total touches since.
Third-year sophomore Charlie Vincent and second-year freshman Ricky Parks traveled with the team and will fill the No. 3 and No. 4 running back roles. Vincent had four carries for 15 yards against Southern Utah but hasn’t touched the ball since. Parks has not played yet.
Washington State is allowing the fewest points of any Pac-12 team this season (20) and the second-fewest yards per run (3.4). The Cougars’ 52 tackles for loss in seven games lead all Pac-12 teams and rank 16th nationally.
“Washington State’s a good football team,” said coach Kyle Whittingham on Monday. “They’re playing very well on D.”
Whittingham stressed that Utah needs more production from the run game coming out of its bye week. If it comes, it’ll be from someone new on Thursday.
Kickoff between No. 14 Utah (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) and Washington State (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) is set for 7 p.m. PT on FS1.