SALT LAKE CITY — Three days after running a career-long 28 yards for a first down in the fourth quarter of Utah’s 42-10 win over Arizona, Utah punter Mitch Wishnowsky was named Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week.
The senior captain also had a 55-yard punt that wound up on the Arizona 2. It was one of two kicks that were downed inside the 10-yard line. Overall, three of Wishnowsky’s four punts pinned the Wildcats within the 20.
“Mitch did an outstanding job punting the ball,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham.
The Pac-12 voters agreed, honoring Wishnowsky for the first time this season and fourth time overall.
“It’s awesome,” he said.
Wishnowsky noted that his successful run for a first down created a stir on social media. The Utes were up 35-10 at the time.
“I’ve seen on Twitter a few people are a bit upset,” Wishnowsky said. “But, I mean, if I see it open I’m instinctively going to run it.”
Wishnowsky has a green light to head downfield with the ball if certain circumstances arise in a rugby-punt situation. He’s 2-for-2 this season in reaching the first-down marker.
“The adrenalin rush is like nothing that I’ve had before,” Wishnowsky said.
ON THE LINE: Whittingham is pleased with how sophomore Orlando Umana has performed in place of injured center Lo Falemaka the past two games. Even so, Whittingham noted that the job belongs to Falemaka, a senior captain, when he’s healthy and able to play.1 comment on this story
"Long-term, though that is certainly a possibility for Orlando and he has proven the last two weeks that he is a very capable center. He is really an inside three guy whether that is at center or guard, we just know he isn't going to play tackle,” Whittingham said. “We will see after this year who emerges at center. We have some good young guys like Paul Maile, who has moved over to the offensive line, that looks like he will be a good inside three guy as well. It is too early to say, but it is great to have Orlando and to know he has the knowledge to play there if we need him to."
EXTRA POINTS: It’s homecoming at the U. The Utes are 59-34-4 in such games . . . Senior linebacker Chase Hansen is the Pac-12 leader in tackles for loss with 1.8 per game . . . Junior quarterback Tyler Huntley made the Davey O’Brien Award’s “Great 8” list after the win over Arizona . . . Former Utah athletics director Dr. Chris Hill will be recognized after the first quarter of Saturday’s game.