10 Most Important Numbers from Utah’s Victory over Arizona

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Kiffer Creveling

University of Utah junior wide receiver Raelon Singleton (11) congratulates senior wide receiver Darren Carrington II (9) on his touchdown in an NCAA Football game vs. The San Jose State Spartans in Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Justin Adams

75 percent – Through Utah’s first three games, sophomore quarterback Tyler Huntley accounted for 75 percent of Utah’s total offense with his accurate passing and elusive running. That’s why it was a big loss for the Utes when Huntley left the game during the second quarter with what appeared to be a shoulder/chest injury. At that point, he had completed 8-of-9 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown.

4.2 – Utah is lucky to have a senior quarterback with 13 games of experience from the previous year that was able to come in and replace Huntley. That said, the offense became, well, underwhelming when Troy Williams took over. Through seven complete drives led by Williams, the Utah offense averaged 4.2 yards per play. That’s not terrible, but when considering that the offense was averaging 7 yards per play with Huntley under center, it’s clear that there’s a reason why Huntley won the starting job.

1 – Nothing illustrates the difference between Huntley and Williams quite as much as this stat. Williams only had one more completion than Huntley had, despite having twice as many attempts (Williams finished 9-for-18). His 50 percent completion rate isn’t an outlier; he had six games last year in which he completed only half of his passes or less.

2 – Darren Carrington II had been torching opposing defenses the first three games and that looked to continue against Arizona, as Huntley connected with him twice in their first two drives, including a 20-yard catch. Williams was able to hit the talented receiver on a 40-yard bomb on his first play of the night, but that was one of only two catches that Carrington would make after the change at quarterback.

112 – With the uncertainty at quarterback, traditional Utah wisdom would say to ride the defense and running game to victory. The defense did its job, more on that later, but the Utah run game struggled. They managed only 112 yards on the game, their fewest total in any game against Arizona since joining the Pac-12 and over 100 yards less than the 215 rushing yards that they had averaged in their previous three meetings.

5 – In a game where Utah’s offense unexpectedly lost its spark plug in Huntley, the defense had to come up big and that’s exactly what they did. It held Arizona to the fewest yards it had against Utah since Utah joined the conference. The Utes biggest impact though, was felt in the turnover department. They forced five turnovers throughout the game, two of them being critical to their victory. A 14-yard interception return for a touchdown by Javelin Guidry ended up being the difference in points between the two teams. The other costly turnover was when Arizona had cut the lead to six, and it recovered its onside kick. All the momentum seemed to be in the Wildcats favor, but then on their very first play of that drive, Utah’s Casey Hughes forced a fumble that was recovered by Chris Hart.

3 – It sounds like broken record playing saying this again, but Matt Gay took care of business on his end. He came in and converted all three of his field goal attempts. Having a dependable kicker who can add anywhere from six to 12 points to Utah’s point total each game is definitely a positive.

14 – Huntley wasn’t the only Ute to get injured through the course of the game. Bradlee Anae and Kylie Fitts both left the game with injuries, so it’s a relief for Utah that it now has a bye week to try to get as healthy as possible before its  homecoming matchup with Stanford, fourteen days from now.

4 – Despite the unfortunate injuries, ugly long snaps and the large number of penalties, Utah was able to earn its fourth win of the season and take a 1-0 conference record.

X – Maybe the most important number this week is a variable, an unknown, a mystery. How many games will Huntley miss with this injury? Given Utah’s policy about revealing information concerning player injuries, it’s anyone’s guess.

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