One Quarter Down, Three to Go


Curtis Lin

The University of Utah’s MUSS’s 3rd Down Jump sign in an NCAA football game vs. Washington at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday September 15, 2018. (Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Tony Kar

It’s hard to believe that a quarter of the college football season has already played out. Many fans believe last season wasn’t an accurate representation of how good the football team can be due to the fact that many of its members received injuries in gameplay. Now that the new season has started, fans anticipate that the Utes will accomplish bigger and better things this year.

After a slow start in their season opener against Weber State, Utah dominated as they went on to score a total of 41 points while keeping the Wildcats at just 10 points for the remainder of the game. Both Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss balled out as Huntley threw for 279 yards and four touchdowns, while Moss ran for 155 yards on just 16 attempts. The defense lived up to audience expectations as the athletes had a total of three sacks and put constant pressure on Kaden Jenks, the Wildcats’ quarterback. The Utes obliterated the Wildcats on both sides of the field as the Utes only allowed 59 yards of offense to the Wildcats. This was the right way to start off the season as the team would find themselves taking on the Northern Illinois Huskies on the road the following week.

After handling the Wildcats, the Utes came into Northern Illinois with just as much promise as they had played the week prior. As in their game against Weber State, the Utah offense struggled to produce early. The Utes were ice cold in the first half as they went on scoreless and allowed Northern Illinois to control the pace of play. NIU’s top-ranked defense sacked Huntley six times, which led to much lower offensive production. This was a defensive game. Neither team pulled any tight successes until late in the fourth quarter, when linebacker Chase Hansen clinched Utah victory with a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown. Unfortunately, Moss suffered a tweaked ankle in the second half of the game and struggled to make a great performance. Nonetheless, Moss was somewhat effective as he helped the Utes sustain their lead and rushed for 74 yards on 16 attempts. Wide receiver Britain Covey has been the number one target for Huntley as he had eight receptions for 129 yards against the Huskies’ defense and proved to be a reliable receiver, long-term. The Utes were lucky enough to leave their game against Northern Illinois with a win as they regrouped for a big match against the Washington Huskies the following week.

Starting a season at 2-0 is no surprise for the Utes as they looked to play upset to the No. 10 Washington Huskies. This was a huge opportunity for the Utes, as a win would put the team on national notice. Washington took an early 14-7 lead entering halftime as the Utes, again, struggled to get the offense going early. Ejections aside, the first half of the game was relatively poor for both teams’ offensive units. In the second half, tensions grew to an all-time high as the Utes were kept scoreless. The Utes had multiple opportunities to come back and make this game interesting; however, they lost their chances as Huntley and the receivers struggled to make good plays. The Utes’ defense, however, failed to disappoint, as they only allowed 21 points to the number 10 ranked team in the nation. Still, the defense’s plays weren’t enough to claim victory over the Huskies. Even with left tackle Pita Tonga’s interception to set the Utes up in great field position, the Utes still couldn’t score. Losing to Washington 21-7 was disappointing for fans, as the Utes had multiple chances to change the outcome of their game.

Coming into the second quarter of the season still above .500, the Utes find themselves in a pretty decent position. At the end of the day, the Utes truly competed with every team they’ve played against and displayed some amazing defense. The Utes, overall, are a pretty good team, but they need to address offense as they struggled to put up points in their last two games. If the Utes can improve immensely on offense, the team can really make some noise in the Pac-12.

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