Football: Gay Leads Utah Past BYU

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Football: Gay Leads Utah Past BYU

By Brittni Meservy

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 Just like its season opener, it was another game for the University of Utah football team (2-0) that consisted of too many penalties. Despite flag after flag that was thrown, the Utes walked away as the reigning Holy War Champions, winning their seventh game in a row against BYU (1-2) on Saturday night, 19-13.

“[BYU] played hard,” said Utah football head coach Kyle Whittingham. “They’re well coached. I love their head coach and love what he’s doing.”

Tyler Huntley went 27-for-36 in the air for 300 yards and rushed 18 times for 89 yards and one touchdown. Darren Carrington led all receivers with 7 catches for 129 yards. The Utes also had 11 penalties for 97 yards on the night.

BYU won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half, sending Utah’s offense to the field to start the game. On the kickoff return, Kyle Fulks bobbled the ball before quickly recovering it. Huntley rushed for 24 yards to pick up the Utah first down. He then had back-to-back rushes for a total of 17 yards to get to BYU’s 47-yard line. A holding penalty was then called that set the Utes back 10 yards, eventually forcing them to punt.

“[We’re] relying too much on Tyler Huntley in the run game,” Whittingham said. “We got to get some help for him in the run game or he won’t be able to hold up for the season.”

After a quick three-and-out drive, BYU was also forced to punt. Utah received the ball at its own 45-yard line where Huntley threw an 18-yard pass to Carrington for the first down. Soon after that there was a holding call on Utah’s offense, so it was forced to punt, but it wasn’t long until the Utes would get the ball back it their own hands.

Two plays into BYU’s drive, Boobie Hobbs intercepted a pass from BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum, and he returned it for 29 yards to the BYU 9-yard line. The Utes were unable to capitalize with a touchdown in the red zone and the field goal unit was sent in, and Matt Gay drilled a 21-yard field goal to give the Utes a 3-0 lead in the first quarter.

Aside from a few more Utah penalties, not much more action happened in the rest of the first quarter.

“It’s only going to get better,” Huntley said. “We in the second week and this was our first big game. We’re just taking it game by game.”

Sunia Tauteoli was ejected from the game after being called for targeting Mangum at the start of the second quarter. Mangum went on to throw what looked like a touchdown pass, but there was pass interference on the play, pushing BYU back 15 yards. The Cougars attempted a 28-yard field goal with a chance to tie the game, but the field goal was missed.

Utah’s next drive featured a touchdown pass from Huntley to Carrington, but it was called back because of pass interference on the offense. Utah was unable to get back in the end zone, and it settled for a 25-yard field goal by Gay to take a 6-0 lead with 6:02 left in the first half.

Gay made one more appearance at the end of the first half to give Utah a 9-0 advantage.

Starting off the second half, Filipo Mokofisi got an interception which sparked a quick Utah scoring drive. After an 18-yard toss to Carrington, Huntley put up a 5-yard rushing touchdown, and the Utes led 16-0.

Mangum then threw his third interception of the night, and Jaylon Johnson got his hands on the ball. However, Utah couldn’t make the Cougars pay for this, and they instead gave the ball right back.

Huntley had a shaky handoff resulting in a fumble, and BYU recovered at the Utah 22-yard line before punching it in for a 1-yard touchdown. The Cougars went for two, but a penalty was called on BYU. A 16-6 lead remained in favor of the Utes.

Utah’s final score of the game would be a 38-yard field goal from Gay towards the end of the third quarter, and the final touchdown of the night came when Mangum threw a 7-yard pass with 2:38 left in the fourth.

“I grew up here so this is a game that’s close to home,” Gay said. “I live 10 minutes down the street. … I definitely wanted to come out and prove a point and just try to keep my nerves when I got those chances and just try to put it through the pipes.”

Whittingham regrets not giving Gay another chance to tack on some more points for Utah as the team was facing a fourth-and-1 scenario in the fourth quarter.

“I’m proud of Matt Gay,” Whittingham said. “I should’ve gone to him there on fourth-and-1 to make it a three score game. I got to just listen to myself and not get caught up in some things.”

The Utes return to action on Saturday, Sept. 16 as they’ll host San Jose State at 8 p.m. MT.

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