The Utes were able to eek out a ‘to close for comfort’ win over Northern Illinois Saturday night to improve to 2-0 on the season, and now it’s time to give out some game balls.
Offense Game Ball: Britain Covey
It’s hard to pick out a player on the offensive side of the ball following a game in which the Utah offense struggled for all four quarters. But Britain Covey was a bright spot in an otherwise average Utah offense Saturday night. Covey continued to impress following a two year hiatus to serve an LDS mission. Utah coaches praised the receiver for returning without missing a step, but it wasn’t evident until now that Covey truly did pick up right where he left off in the Utah offense. On a night that saw many of the receivers struggle to catch the ball or make plays, Covey was Huntley’s top target with 8 catches - 6 more than any other receiver - to go along with a team leading 129 yards. While he failed to score a touchdown, Covey continued to show why his return was so highly anticipated by Utah fans.
Defense Game Ball: Chase Hansen
I would like to give this ball to the entire defense, after all, they held NIU without a touchdown for the game, the first time a Utah opponent has failed to reach the end zone since a 2016 victory over Southern Utah. But since giving an entire unit a game ball isn’t any fun, why not give the game ball to the man who single handedly iced the game for the Utes. Not only did linebacker Chase Hansen account for a team high 8 solo tackles and 2 sacks, but the senior was also able to force two takeaways, a fumble recovery and an interception. Hansen also came away with the play of the game as he sealed the Ute’s victory with an interception that he subsequently returned for a touchdown, giving the Utes a 17-6 lead with just 2:36 remaining in the game.
Special Teams Game Ball: Mitch Wishnowsky
Wishnowsky earned a game ball for the second week in a row for his performance against NIU. It was a very uncharacteristic game for the Utah special teams unit that saw a field goal blocked, a field goal missed and a muffed punt. But the one constant for the game on the special teams side of the ball was punter Mitch Wishnowsky. Wishnowsky had 5 punts for a total of 207 yards, good for 41.4 yards per punt. While I would like to see the number of punts go down, it’s always good to know that when a punting situation does arise for the Utes, we have a Ray Guy Award winner on our side.
So that is who I would give the game balls to. If there’s anyone I missed, or someone you think deserves a game ball let me know in the comments.