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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

NFL locals photo gallery: Star Lotulelei sacks Alex Smith

Robert Turbin also stars for the Seahawks and Xavier Su'a-Filo starts for the Texans

By Brandon Judd, Deseret News

Published: Mon, Aug. 18 2:05 p.m. MDT

 Kansas City Chiefs' Alex Smith (11, Utah) is sacked by Carolina Panthers' Star Lotulelei (Utah, Snow College and Bingham High) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014.

Kansas City Chiefs' Alex Smith (11, Utah) is sacked by Carolina Panthers' Star Lotulelei (Utah, Snow College and Bingham High) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014.

(Bob Leverone, AP)

What happens when two former Utes converge on the Bank of America Stadium field?

Sunday night during the NFL preseason matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs, it was the former Utah defender who won the battle.

Panthers defensive tackle Star Lotulelei sacked Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith late in the second quarter, helping to end a promising Chiefs drive that had reached the Carolina 44. Two plays after the nine-yard tackle, Kansas City punted the ball facing a fourth-and-19.

Lotulelei finished with the sack and a quarterback hurry in the Panthers' 28-16 win, while Smith completed 14-of-22 passes for 127 yards.

In the Chiefs' game against Carolina, all four local products — including Kansas City strong safety Daniel Sorensen (BYU) and Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith (Utah) — started in the preseason contest. Sorensen and Smith each had a tackle.

Other top performances from NFL locals during the second week of preseason play included:

— Two Utah County offensive linemen started for their respective teams: Rookie Xavier Su'a-Filo (Timpview High) made his first start at guard for the Houston Texans and Jordan Devey (American Fork and Snow College) started for the second consecutive week for the New England Patriots, this time at right guard.

— Rookie outside linebacker Trevor Reilly, from Utah, forced a fumble on special teams and had a tackle and two special teams tackles for the New York Jets.

— Former Utah State running back Robert Turbin carried the ball 12 times for 81 yards and a touchdown for the Seattle Seahawks against the San Diego Chargers. He also added a reception for five yards.

— Rookie tight end Jake Murphy, an American Fork High and Utah product, caught his first NFL pass: a three-yard touchdown pass from fellow rookie Derek Carr during the Oakland Raiders' win over the Detroit Lions.

— The Utes' L.T. Tuipulotu, a rookie defensive tackle for the Patriots, had three tackles.

— Utah State rookie Maurice Alexander, listed as the backup at strong safety for the St. Louis Rams, had five tackles in the Rams' loss to the Green Bay Packers.

— Texans rookie tight end Anthony Denham (Utah) blocked a punt in Houston's win over the Atlanta Falcons that led directly to a touchdown.

— Former BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy recorded two tackles for the Lions against Oakland.

— Two veteran NFL linebackers also had nice games. Miami linebacker Koa Misi (Utah) led the Dolphins with six tackles, while Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Vic So'oto had three tackles, a sack and a forced fumble against the Buffalo Bills.

Email: bjudd@deseretnews.com; Twitter: @brandonljudd

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1. Koloss
Hampton, VA,
Aug. 18, 2014

Congratulations to all players with Utah ties, especially the ones making plays in the preseason trying to make the roster of their respective teams. I'm a Ute fan and even I'm impressed with how well Sorensen is doing in KC.

2. Hoosier87
American Fork, UT,
Aug. 18, 2014

Star is going to be a beast in the NFL for MANY years to come - gonna enjoy watching him.

My favorite story from this article is Jordan Devey - that's an amazing situation. Kid played in American Fork Band throughout high school - didn't even like football - now look at him. Funny stuff

3. Utah'95
FPO, AE,
Aug. 18, 2014

Star IS a Star. Solid performances by the Smiths and Denham. I'm watching Reilly closely, hoping that his under appreciated athleticism and nose for the football produces results in the NFL.

Good luck Utes!

4. SharpHooks
Lake Sammamish, WA,
Aug. 18, 2014

As much as I liked Alex Smith in college, he is not a great pro qb.
He is just above middling---

5. golfrUte
SALT LAKE CITY, UT,
Aug. 18, 2014

Good luck to all the guys with local ties. Stay healthy!!