Utah beats North Dakota in opener
Tyler Huntley threw for 227 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 70 yards and two scores to lead Utah to a 37-16 victory over North Dakota on Thursday night in Salt Lake City.
Huntley made his first career start at quarterback after beating out senior Troy Williams in fall camp. The sophomore’s favorite target was Oregon transfer Darren Carrington, who finished with 127 receiving yards and a touchdown on 10 catches.
Zach Moss added 128 rushing yards and a touchdown on 22 carries to help Utah (1-0) improve to 39-0 all time against current members of the Big Sky Conference. The Utes totaled 499 yards on offense.
Keaton Studsrud threw for 175 yards and a touchdown to lead the Fighting Hawks. North Dakota (0-1) mustered just 51 total yards on the ground. The Fighting Hawks fell to 1-9 all time against FBS opponents.
North Dakota, an FCS school, cashed in on a turnover to jump out in front in the first quarter. Evan Holm picked off a pass from Huntley at the Utes’ 29-yard line. It set up a 32-yard field goal from Reid Taubenheim that gave the Fighting Hawks a 3-0 lead.
Utah did not answer until the opening minute of the second quarter. Huntley faked a handoff to Moss on fourth down and raced the other way for a wide-open 16-yard scoring run to put the Utes ahead for good at 7-3.
After North Dakota closed the gap on a 26-yard field goal from Taubenheim, Utah answered with another touchdown. After a fourth-down roughing-the-passer penalty on the Fighting Hawks, Huntley connected with Carrington on an 18-yard throw to put the Utes up 14-6.
The Utes struggled with penalties throughout the first half. Utah piled up six penalties in the first 16 minutes and totaled seven penalties for 94 yards by halftime. North Dakota could not capitalize. The Fighting Hawks totaled just 92 yards in the first half.
Matt Gay made field goals from 33 and 32 yards and Moss scampered in for a 5-yard touchdown to put Utah up 27-9 late in the third quarter. North Dakota closed the gap in the fourth quarter after two long pass plays set up a 3-yard reception by Luke Fiedler to make it 27-16.
The Fighting Hawks pulled no closer. Gay drilled a 50-yard field goal and then Julian Blackmon picked off a tipped ball to set up Utah’s final touchdown, which came on a 1-yard keeper from Huntley with 2:37 remaining.
Huntley finished 23 of 32 and Studsrud was 13 of 27.