Offense - Tyler Huntley, Kyle Lanterman, Alex Locklear, Zack Moss, Darrin Paulo, Demari Simpkins, Hunter Thedford, Paul Toala, Derrick Vickers, Tyrone Young-Smith
On senior night, the Utah offense showed why these senior leaders mean so much to this program. This has been one of the most explosive offenses to ever come through Salt Lake and one of the more special teams that have ever been a part of the Utah program, all because of the senior leadership.
Two of the most respected leaders of this team happen to be on the offensive end in Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss. Without those two, there is no Pac-12 South Championship. Without those two there is no shot at the College Football Playoff.
Moss, along with other seniors on this team, came back to Utah to have a shot at the Pac-12 Championship and now, because of these seniors, that is well within reach. So with the regular season in the books, and the careers of these seniors at Rice Eccles Stadium is in the rearview mirror, I thought it was appropriate to recognize each one of them with game balls this week.
If I were to give a game ball for their performance vs Colorado only, then, of course, it would go to Brant Kuithe for his three touchdowns.
Defense - Bradlee Anae, Francis Bernard, Julian Blackmon, Terrell Burgess, Leki Fotu, Malik Haynes, Tareke Lewis, Josh Nurse, John Penisini
This is the best defense in the history of the University of Utah football program. Period. End of story. And that has everything to do with this senior class.
Everyone knew that this defense was going to be special and going to be one of the top defenses in the country. But I don’t think anyone knew just how dominant this defense is. Someone on Twitter said it best, this defense just ends the opponent’s will to live.
This defense is going to always be known as the best defense to ever come through Salt Lake City and without these seniors that would never have been a possibility.
Again, if I had to give away a game ball for their performance I would have to go with Jaylon Johnson for the way he was able to keep Laviska Shenault in check for the majority of the game. Also, shout out to Johnson for keeping the game all about the seniors when everyone knows that Saturday was his last game at Rice Eccles Stadium as well.
Special Teams - Demari Simpkins
For special teams, I’ll go away from recognizing the seniors because finally, we have something to celebrate with the special teams unit. It was a rough start for Demari Simpkins after failing to down a Utah punt at the one-yard line and then fumbling the ball soon after, which was luckily recovered by Sampson Nacua. But then Simpkins delivered the play of the year on special teams as he literally made the stadium shake on a punt return for a touchdown which left no doubt that the Utes were going to be Pac-12 South Champs.
It only took 11 games but we finally had a signature moment on special teams.