SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Just months after his career appeared to be over, Travis Wilson is back. Even better for Utah, the junior quarterback is surrounded by new playmakers.
Wilson passed for 265 yards in the first half and newcomers Devontae Booker and Kaelin Clay each had a pair of touchdowns to help Utah blow past Idaho State 56-14 on Thursday night.
"There's definitely a lot of weapons I can use and definitely a lot of places where I can spread the ball around," said Wilson, who faced the possibility of not suiting up again after a head injury last season. "I'm really blessed to have the opportunity to come back and play."
Wilson and the Utes struck quickly and often. Utah posted three touchdown drives of less than 42 seconds and added two other scores on kick returns.
"We did out-athlete them," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "We made big plays at the skill positions."
Clay, a junior college transfer, returned a punt 46 yards for his first touchdown. In the second half Clay broke away for a 100-yard kick-off return.
"It felt great," Clay said. "I pride myself on special teams. That's a unit that kind of goes unnoticed, so I take a lot of pride in it."
Wilson thought his career was over after doctors noticed damage to an intracranial artery while checking on his recovery from a concussion last season. He missed the final three games last year, but was later told the irregularity was a pre-existing condition and subsequently was cleared to play.
Wilson relished his second chance and looked sharp against the overmatched Bengals in one half of work.
"Obviously, we didn't showcase our whole offense," Wilson said. "We did a great job of making big plays."
Dres Anderson caught four of Wilson's tosses for 111 yards.
Booker, another transfer looking to make his mark, had 78 yards rushing on 10 carries. Originally signed by Washington State in 2009, Booker again didn't qualify academically at Fresno State and played two years at American River College before sitting out last season.
After his own punt return gave the Utes a short field, Bubba Poole scored on a 6-yard run with 9:40 left in the first quarter.
ISU's Justin Arias scrambled away from the Utah rush and lofted a 3-yard touchdown to Broc Malcolm at the back of the end zone to tie the game at 7-7
Utah struck back when Booker took a screen pass 61 yards to set up Wilson's Superman-like leap for a touchdown with 2:59 left in the opening period.
"Travis is a tough kid," Whittingham said. "It's good to see him be aggressive . it's obvious he has no hesitation whatsoever, no concern about the head situation."
Getting hurt was the last thing on Wilson's mind.
"The pocket collapsed a little bit and I saw my chance to run," he said. "It was just a spur of the moment thing."
After Wilson's scoring dive, the Bengals worked their way right back down the field but Eric Rowe blocked a 30-yard field goal attempt and the Utes began dominate. Four plays later, Booker scored on a 38-yard run.
Kenneth Scott, who missed almost all but a few plays last year with an injury, caught a 26-yard pass with 19 second left to make it 35-7 at halftime for Utah.
"Instead of just getting a drink from the bucket, we fell into the well," ISU coach Mike Kramer said of Utah's offensive avalanche.
In the second half, Oklahoma transfer Kendal Thompson, who nearly won the starting job in fall camp, led the Utes on a scoring capped by Booker's second touchdown. Third-string QB Brandon Cox ran 16 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown.
The Utes rolled to 589 yards of total offense and dominated despite not forcing a single turnover, though they did force 11 punts. Whittingham wasn't happy with Utah's work on the line of scrimmage.
"We were too soft against the run and then on the other side, we didn't get the push on the offensive line," he said. "I expected us to be more dominant."
Arias threw for 158 yards on 21-for-40 passing and two touchdowns. ISU's Xavier Finney rushed 23 times for 133 yards.
Idaho State has now lost all seven matchups against Utah. The Bengals haven't won a road game since 2006 and last defeated a FBS team when they squeaked by Utah State 27-24 in 2000.