Utah’s new starting quarterback, sophomore TylerHuntley, has passed all tests so far in leading the Utes to a 2-0 start and aNo. 24 national ranking. The next exam comes Saturday as Utah hosts San JoseState to close out its nonconference schedule.
The dual-threat Huntley has completed 73.5percent of his passes, is the team’s leading rusher with 159 yards on 37attempts and has accounted for four total touchdowns, including three scores onthe ground, in wins over North Dakota and BYU. Huntley had 389 total yards anda rushing TD in the 19-13 victory over the Cougars, leading the Utes to theirseventh straight win in the rivalry. “We probably leaned a little bit tooheavily on Tyler last week running the football, but he is a very good runneras you can see,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said at his Monday newsconference. “He also did an excellent job throwing the football with a75-percent completion (rate), 300 yards and no picks. He’s (doing) a lot ofgood things.” San Jose State, meanwhile, will be trying to bounce back fromSaturday’s 56-0 shutout loss at Texas, which gashed the Spartans for 623 totalyards, including 406 and six TDs on the ground.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2. LINE: Utah -27
ABOUT SAN JOSE STATE (1-2): The Spartans enteredthe season with a first-year head coach in Brent Brennan and have played threequarterbacks so far with redshirt freshman Montel Aaron making his first startin the loss to Texas. Aaron has played in all three contests and leads allfreshmen QBs nationally with four scoring passes and one interception. Junior linebackerFrank Ginda leads the team with 42 tackles, including four for losses, and theSpartans’ defense has been busy overall, playing an FBS-most 259 snaps in threegames while surrendering 111 points and 1,404 total yards.
ABOUT UTAH (2-0): Oregon transfer DarrenCarrington has been Huntley’s top target so far, catching 17 passes for 256yards and a TD while Zack Moss is a close second to the quarterback with 149yards and a score on 33 rushes. Safety Chase Hansen has team-most 14 tacklesfor the Utes, who have limited opponents to 29 total points and an average of237.5 yards. Turnovers and penalties, however, have been too numerous forWhittingham’s liking as Utah has had three giveaways while being flagged 22times for 232 yards.
1. Utah holds a 7-1 lead in the series betweenthe former Western Athletic Conference rivals, including a 34-16 road win lastseason in San Jose.
2. Overall, the Utes are 23-1 in nonconferencegames since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, including a 17-0 mark over the lastthree seasons.
3. San Jose State is facing its secondnationally ranked opponent in four weeks after opening the season with a 42-22home loss to then-No. 21 South Florida.
PREDICTION: Utah 42, San Jose State 13