It was business as usual as the Utes kicked of their season with a 37-16 win over North Dakota on Thursday. Here are my gameball recipients for week one:
Darren Carrington II
Utah wide receiver and former Oregon Duck, Darren Carrington II, had a career night for the Utes. Although the game was against an FCS opponent, Carrington proved to be the playmaker Utah needed to help its passing game. Carrington caught an 18-yard pass in the second quarter from quarterback Tyler Huntley and led the Utes with 127 scoring yards on 10 receptions. It marks his eighth career 100-yard game and his first at Utah. He had a career-high in receptions, though not in yards (he went for 165 yards against Florida State in the 2015 Rose Bowl). Utah's offense got off to a slow start, but once Huntley and Carrington found their connection, it was history from there.
Utah's defense against North Dakota was subpar and didn't do enough for Coach Kyle Whittingham, so this one is tough because no one had a spectacular performance. But I'm going to go with strong safety Chase Hansen. The starter didn't miss a beat. Coming off of an injury (Utah doesn't disclose injuries unless they're season-ending), Hansen looked solid. He collected six tackles in the win over North Dakota.
After the big mystery of who would replace four-year starter Andy Phillips to handle the kicking duties, it looks like the Utes found their man -- Matt Gay. The former Utah Valley University soccer player made the most of his night and nailed three field goals (33, 32 and 49 yards) and four extra points. Gay was neck-and-neck with Chayden Johnston throughout fall camp. But after Johnston missed his first kick in the game and Gay made his first, it looks like Gay may have won the job.
Since we can't give two game balls to offense I'm putting Tyler Huntley here. We do have to mention that Huntley got off to a slow start, but once he settled in he put up solid numbers. The flashy young quarterback finished with 227 passing yards, 70 rushing yards and three touchdowns in Utah's win over UND.