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Game Balls for NIU-Utah

NCAA Football: Southern California at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Offense - Tyler Huntley

Tyler Huntley didn’t exactly have the game that he wanted to last week against BYU. Fortunately, the Utah QB didn’t need to have an impressive outing in order for the Utes to get the win a week ago. This week, however, the senior needed to do a bit more to get the win, and he answered the call.

Huntley had an incredibly efficient morning for the Utes, completing 14 of his 19 pass attempts for 214 yards and a score. Huntley didn’t stop there, however, as the QB ran or an additional 38 yards and added a touchdown of his own in the ground game. Huntley finished the day with the highest total QBR according to ESPN. Zack Moss will be Zack Moss this season and the Utes will rely on him to carry the offense, but if Huntley can continue to be an efficient QB, in particular limiting turnovers, then there is no reason Utah can’t push for an undefeated record at the end of the season.

Defense - Devin Lloyd

I could have gone with Bradlee Anae here, and most fans would probably argue I should have gone with Anae. However, my heart said to go with the sophomore linebacker. Anae had an incredibly impressive day, finishing with 3 sacks - and probably could have had a couple more. But Devin Lloyd had an equally impressive performance against the Huskies.

Lloyd was thrown into the fire on the first day of fall camp after Manny Bowen left the program to pursue a business opportunity. That left Lloyd to pick up the slack in the linebacker position. Barnard was the clear cut leader, but even someone of his talent can’t carry an entire position group. Luckily, Lloyd has shown that he is more than capable of helping to shoulder the load alongside Bernard. Lloyd finished the game with the first sack of his career and 10 total tackles, behind only Bernard for most on the team.

Special Teams - Ben Lennon

The Utah special teams unit was dreadful last week against BYU but they showed some promise in week two. Lennon had a solid outing as punter for the Utes, tallying 4 punts for 181 yards, good for a 45.3 average. Lennon even had a booming 62-yard punt that helped flip the field for the Utes.

Once conference play begins for the Utes, field position battles will be key. If Lennon can continue to make strides and help flip the field for Utah on a consistent basis, it will only make the job easier for a Utah defense that is already the strength of the team.