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Game balls for the loss to Washington State

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Washington State v Utah Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

If you can just forget about the 1st quarter against the Cougars, the Utes played pretty well. Sure, it wasn’t always pretty throughout the game, but the team battled all game long, and could have folded multiple times, but they just kept battling back. That’s something you want to see from a young team.

Here are the game balls for this week:

Offense: Raelon Singleton

I almost gave the game ball to Huntley, because it seemed like for a long period of time he was the only one out there playing against Washington State. The o-line didn’t do him many favors, but his big target Singleton was as good as he’s been all season, and that’s a big deal with Darren Carrington unable to go. On the night he had 6 catches for 87 yards as well as one tough touchdown catch. He had many big grabs on the night, and I love seeing him get some good run.

Defense: Corrion Ballard

Ballard was a big get when the Utes landed him, but he was jumped by Marquise Blair as fall camp and the season has gone along. With Blair going down, and with Chase Hansen also not playing, Ballard played a great game against the Cougars, and was laying big hits all game long. Morgan Scalley brought him on many blitzes and he just made Luke Falk’s day difficult. On the game, he had 6 tackles, 1 interception and 1 PBU. I can’t wait to see him continue his progress, and hopefully he can continue to bring the heat.

Special Teams: Demari Simpkins

Simpkins had a big day through the air with 99 yards, including that 71 yard catch and run, but his one fumble really hurt. He did, however, setup the Utes nicely on a good kick return for 53 yards that gave Utah a short field. We haven’t seen a lot of kick returns this season, so it was nice to see a big one by Simpkins.

Honorable mentions: Donavan Thompson & Jaylon Johnson

The sophomore linebacker and true freshman corner had great games. Johnson has been so good all year long, and in his first test against an Air Raid attack, he was beyond impressive. Thompson was great in his most extended playing time in his career, with Sunia Tauteoli not being able to go. Thomson was in the backfield often causing problems for Falk, and I can’t wait to see him develop into the linebacker of the future for the Utes.