SALT LAKE CITY — Utah continued to find “it” in Friday night’s 42-10 win over Arizona. The victory at Rice-Eccles Stadium came six days after the Utes put it all together in a 19-point triumph at Stanford.
“We really have found an identity as a team,” said wide receiver Britain Covey. “And it’s obvious to see.”
Just ask the Wildcats. The Utes jumped out to a 35-0 lead to seal the deal early. Four of those touchdowns came in the first half, and the fifth was scored less than two minutes into the second.
Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin noted that the outcome may have been decided long before then, however. He said the opening drive of the game, when Utah marched 75 yards on 15 plays while taking 7:13 off the clock, proved to be pivotal.
“That set the tone for the rest of the game,” Sumlin said.
The Utes finished with 495 yards of offense. Quarterback Tyler Huntley had a stellar game, scoring touchdowns as a passer, runner and receiver. The junior preferred one position, though, over the others.
“Definitely quarterback,” Huntley said. “That isn’t even a question. But my team asked me to make a play and I made a play.”
It produced a touchdown with 13:12 to go in the third quarter when Huntley was on the receiving end of a 58-yard touchdown throw from Covey, who got the ball on a reverse from running back Zack Moss. Huntley started and finished the play.
“It was executed well in practice,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. “So in a game, if you have confidence in a play, you’re going to dial it up.”
The circumstances proved favorable to do so.
For the Utes, it proved to be one of those nights.
“It was good to see us build on last week’s victory and continue to get into a rhythm offensively,” Whittingham said. “Overall it was a great effort by the defense as well, and special teams contributed. Just like last week, it was overall a good team win.”
Prior to the receiving score by Huntley, Utah’s offense crossed the goal line four times. The touchdowns came on an 8-yard throw from Huntley to Samson Nacua; a 1-yard run by Moss; a 68-yard scoring strike from Huntley to Demari Simpkins; and off a 3-yard run from Huntley.
After Arizona cut Utah’s lead to 35-10 in the second half, the Utes capped things off with 6:14 left to play on a 22-yard TD run by Armand Shyne and Matt Gay’s sixth PAT of the game. Punter Mitch Wishnowsky helped set up the score with a 28-yard run. A horse-collar tackle penalty on Arizona moved the ball even further down the field.
Huntley, though, proved to be the leader of the pack — completing 14 of 19 passes for 201 yards. In addition, he finished with a team-high 122 all-purpose yards.
“It’s great to see Tyler having success. He works so hard. He is a fierce competitor,” Whittingham said. “He is a true student of the game, always in the film room preparing. It has been great to see the fruits of his labor pay off on game day.”
Utah’s defense, meanwhile, had some stellar showings as well. The Utes held Arizona to just 72 yards rushing, marking the fourth time this season that an opponent has failed to reach 100. Other notable numbers by the defense include six tackles for loss, five sacks and four pass breakups.9 comments on this story
“When the offense and defense click at the same time, I feel like we’re a pretty dangerous team in this conference,” said senior linebacker Chase Hansen. “So we can get rolling.”
EXTRA POINTS: Utah’s homecoming game is Saturday against USC (6 p.m., P12N). … Hansen and Maxs Tupai topped the Utes with nine tackles apiece. Cody Barton and Javelin Guidry each finished with eight. … Utah’s offense was 3-for-3 on fourth-down conversions. … Moss had a game-high 68 yards rushing on 15 carries. … Covey and Simpkins led the receiving corps with six and three catches, respectively.