Offense - Tyler Huntley
Tyler Huntley has been having a heck of a season for the Utes. The offense may not always look pretty, especially against BYU or USC, but Huntley has done everything he has been asked to do, and done it well. There really isn’t a flaw that you can find in Huntley’s play this season. He has been uber efficient. Thrown it accurately. And made no big-time mistakes, which is highlighted by the fact that he has thrown ZERO interceptions through five games.
Huntley had another impressive night for the Utes on Saturday, throwing for 334 yards and two touchdowns, while adding another TD on the ground. Most impressive to me was the ability to find receivers downfield and get them the ball, especially considering the rainy conditions in which the game was played. Huntley has earned a game ball for the past couple of weeks and it isn’t hard to see why. The Utah QB may be one of the more underrated signal-callers in the country.
Defense - Julian Blackmon
Julian Blackmon, along with the rest of the Utah secondary, was downright awful a week ago. But this week? I’m not sure they could have played a better game. The defense as a whole came away with two takeaways, and while Blackmon didn’t get a chance to come up with on himself, he still made some game-changing plays.
Blackmon didn’t come up with an interception, or a fumble recovery but he did make two touchdown-saving plays. The first was a pass deflection in the endzone, in which the senior covered 5-10 yards of ground to break up a pass that, if caught, would have gone for six. The second was an open-field tackle on fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line that gave the ball back to the Utah offense and kept points off the board for Washington State. Blackmon doesn’t make those two plays, and we may have been looking at a very different ballgame.
Special Teams - Demari Simpkins
I’m honestly at a loss for this special teams unit. There hasn’t been anyone that has stood out that I feel deserves a game ball but I must give one out, regardless.
So I’m going to go with Demari Simpkins. Simpkins took over a punt returner for the injured Britain Covey, and while he didn’t have any breakaway plays or big-time returns, he did keep the ball off the turf, which is all you can ask for from a backup return man who is fielding punts in a rainstorm.
Let’s hope next week there is someone who stands out enough so there’s no question who gets the special teams game ball.