Tyler Huntley threw for 286 yards on 20-of-31 passing and Chase Hansen returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown to help Utah escape with a 17-6 win over host Northern Illinois in DeKalb, Ill., on Saturday.
Zack Moss rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown for the Utes before leaving in the fourth quarter with an injury. Utah (2-0) won its 21st straight nonconference game.
Marcus Childers tallied 111 yards and an interception on 18-of-33 passing. The Huskies forced two Utah turnovers, but only gained 228 yards against the Utes’ defense.
Utah outgained Northern Illinois in the first half, piling up 180 yards while holding the Huskies to 128 yards. But the Utes had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard.
Instead the Huskies took a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter on a 49-yard field goal from Andrew Gantz. Utah had two chances to get on the board before halftime, but Matt Gay, the 2017 Lou Groza Award winner, missed a pair of field goal attempts.
Utah’s Jack Heflin blocked a 43-yard attempt by Gay in the first quarter. Then, Gay missed another 43-yard attempt late in the second quarter.
Moss temporarily restored order for Utah’s offense in the third quarter. A 41-yard catch by Jaylen Dixon got the Utes into Northern Illinois territory. It helped set up a 1-yard run from Moss that put Utah in front 7-3 midway through the quarter.
Jordan Cole stripped the ball from Moss near midfield early in the fourth quarter a couple of plays after Chase Hansen had recovered a fumble for Utah. It set up another field goal from Gantz — this one a 27 yarder — that cut the Utes’ lead to 7-6 with 6:51 left.
That’s as close as the Huskies would get. Gay made a 40-yard field goal to push the lead to 10-6. Then Hansen intercepted a pass from Childers and returned it 40 yards for the score, putting the Utes up 17-6 with 2:36 remaining.
Hansen tallied two sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception for Utah.
—Field Level Media