One of the more intriguing matchups in UNLV’s football game at No. 20 Utah on Saturday could be between Rebels wide receiver Phillip Payne and Utes cornerback Brandon Burton.
How often Burton is matched up against Payne is uncertain, but it would make sense if Utah uses one of the Mountain West Conference’s best defensive backs on one of the league’s top receivers. That’s especially true considering no other UNLV receiver has yet shown he can take heat off Payne.
Both players are off to strong starts.
Payne caught four passes for 71 yards and a touchdown in Saturday’s 41-21 season-opening loss to Wisconsin, and Burton broke up two passes in the Utes’ 27-24 overtime victory over Pittsburgh on Thursday.
"He’s a great athlete," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said about Burton to the (Salt Lake City) Deseret News. "He’s got great speed. He’s got an excellent vertical jump. He plays the ball in the air very well, and he’s a big-time corner."