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Grading the win over North Dakota

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NCAA Football: North Dakota at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah football season is underway, and they showed out really well against a solid FCS opponent in North Dakota. There was some growing pains, and some early season mistakes (penalties anyone?!), but we got a glimpse of what the 2017 Utah football team could be.

Here’s how I grade out the different phases of the game for the Utes.

Offense = B

A turnover on the opening series of the game really puts you in a hole, as does 139 yards in penalties. With that said, coming out of the ND game, I felt as good about Utah’s offense as I have in a loooong time. They put up 500 yards of offense, with 272 coming on the ground. They only had the 1 turnover, and showed some excitement and diversity in their play calling and playmaking. Utah had a 100 yard rusher with Zack Moss, and a 100 yard receiver with Darren Carrington. New QB Tyler Huntley showed some poise, and the ability to make plays outside the pocket with his legs. He’s no where near polished, but he oozes potential. If they clean up the penalties, they’ll be a formidable bunch.

Defense = B

Only one sack and one turnover isn’t good enough. Julian Blackmon had the one pick, but he should have had two. Utah did rotate in a bunch of d-linemen, and was pretty basic on defense, which could lead to the lack of sacks. The secondary also lost some of the ND in the middle of the field, which is a bit of a cause of a concern, but something that experience should hope remedy. I do really like the speed of this team, they just need more game reps together.

Special Teams = A

Well, it seems we have a new kicker with Matt Gay. He was 3/3 on the game, with a long of 49 yards. Yeah, Utah missed the first kick with Chayden Johnston, but I forgive that one. Mitch Wishnowsky only had the one punt, but it was for 52 yards, which is really good. He also blasted most of his kickoffs out of the back of the endzone, which is very nice to see. Boobie Hobbs was good on punt return, and had one nice return called back with a BS block in the back call.

How would you grade out the team?