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Game Balls Week 1: Michigan vs Utah

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The Utes opened up with a victory on Thursday night in front of 48,000 plus in Rice-Eccles Stadium, spoiling Jim Harbaugh's debut. Although there were many players worthy of individual accolades, we awarded Game Balls to those we thought were the best.

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Satin Red helmets, a new paint job for the field house and a record capacity crowd added to the unbelievable atmosphere Thursday night. The moment the teams ran out of the tunnel, electricity shot through the entirety of a raucous Rice-Eccles Stadium. Utah dominated from the first snap and although it wasn't an offensive exhibition, Utah did what they had to do to ensure a win against Jim Harbaugh's Wolverines. Here's a look at the two players we felt deserved a Game Ball for their impact on Utah's hard fought win.

Offense

Travis Wilson - QB

Wilson's numbers Thursday were 24/33 208 yds passing with 1 INT and 53 yds rushing on 12 carries and a TD. He was composed, in control and sure of himself. We got to see Wilson do things a senior QB playing for a division 1 school do, like change the play at the line and play an entire game even though he wasn't perfect. His numbers weren't gaudy, but he was efficient. The lone interception came on a hail mary in the closing minutes of the first half that was a toss up at best. The biggest improvement to Wilson's game was the fact that he used his eyes to move the defense around the field. It's an impressive and much needed attribute for him to have in this league. If Thursday night was any indication of the growth that may have taken place with Wilson this year, Utah may have the signal caller they have been looking for.

Defense

Gionni Paul - LB

I know, I know....the penalties! Although they were costly and excusable, Gionni wreaked havoc everywhere racking up 14 tackles. He was instrumental on a key 4th and 1 stop, and he was fantastic in pass coverage. Paul is the type of player that changes the way the game is played when he is on the field. He's angry, athletic and never intimidated. He's in on every play and he is willing to sacrifice his body for this team. Watching him lay hit after hit against Michigan was a blast. I'm excited for the next 11 games.