SALT LAKE CITY – It was a high-scoring affair on Saturday night as the Utah football program sent the San Jose State Spartans home with a 54-16 loss. Utah improved to 3-0 on the season heading into Pac-12 play.
Tyler Huntley had another career night, throwing for 341 yards (30-43-1) and four touchdowns, also leading the team in rushing with 14 carries and 53 yards. Darren Carrington II recorded his third straight 100-yard receiving game, coming away with 153 yards and three of Huntley’s four touchdowns. Samson Nacua also had a career-high seven receptions for 59 yards in his first-career start.
On defense, the Utes held San Jose State to just 30 rushing yards, the third straight game that Utah has held its opponent to under 100 yards rushing. Sunia Tauteoli and Marquise Blair tied for a team-high seven tackles with Blair also leading the team with two pass breakups. The Utes had a season-high five sacks and seven tackles for loss with Kylie Fittscoming away with two of the five quarterback hits.
Special teams continued to be a strength for Utah with Matt Gay coming away perfect yet again from field goal range (4-for-4) and PATs (5-for-5), including a career-long 56-yarder. Boobie Hobbs also picked up three punt returns for 95 yards after the Spartans were holding opponents to negative yardage on returns entering the game.
The Utes quickly drove down field to start the first quarter, picking up 72 yards in 10 plays with Carrington recording 39 yards on two catches. Utah eventually had to settle on a field goal after getting stopped in the end zone with Gay converting on a 21-yarder to give Utah the 3-0 lead with 11:35 on the clock.
Gay’s accuracy continued to be spot on with 8:05 left in the first quarter, hitting a career-long 56-yard field goal to put Utah up 6-0. The second-longest field goal in Utah history ended a six-play, 19-yard drive that took 2:13 off the clock.
The Spartans jumped on the scoreboard with 5:07 remaining in the first quarter, knocking in the third field goal of the game. Bryce Crawford recorded a 24-yarder to cut the Utah lead to 6-3, putting an end to a four-play, eight-yard drive after an offensive turnover by the Utes on their own 13-yard-line.
It was Utah’s turn to come up with a turnover after Fitts forced a fumble and Bradlee Aane coming away with the recovery, putting the Utes on the SJSU 33-yard-line. It allowed Gay to punch in his third field goal of the game, this time a 50-yarder to give Utah a 9-3 advantage with 1:36 left to play in the first quarter.
Utah’s defense was stingy to end the first quarter with Tauteoli coming away with an interception, giving the Utes the ball back to start the second quarter. Huntley drove the Utes down field 43 yards, ending with a seven-yard pass to Carrington in the corner of the end zone to put Utah up 16-3 with 13:44 on the clock.
Carrington scored his second touchdown of the game and third of the season with 6:34 remaining in the second quarter on a 26-yard reception. It gave Utah a 23-3 lead, with 17 of Utah’s 23 points scored off the Spartan’s turnovers. It ended a five-play, 43-yard drive set up by an interception from Julian Blackmon.
Zack Moss used all of his 5-10 frame to score Utah’s third touchdown of the second quarter with 3:32 left, stretching across the goal line for a 5-yard rushing score. The Utes were put in good position thanks to a 43-yard punt return from Hobbs to land Utah on the SJSU 48-yard-line. The five-yard touchdown put an end to a 48-yard drive that took 1:36 off the clock, making it 30-3 in Utah’s favor.
Utah’s defense continued to cause problems in San Jose State’s rushing game, holding them to just two yards in the first half, forcing the Spartans to take to the air in the final minutes of the half. They knocked in a 51-yard field goal with 1:08 remaining and then capitalized on a Utah interception, throwing 47 yards to the end zone for a touchdown with just 46 seconds left on the clock. It cut the Utah lead to 30-13 heading into halftime.
The Utes opened second half scoring late in the third quarter when Raelon Singleton dove for a 13-yard touchdown, putting Utah up 37-13. It ended Utah’s longest drive of the game for nine plays, 80 yards and 4:20 off the clock.
San Jose State added to its score line with a 38-yard field goal to start the fourth quarter, making it 37-16. The drive that started in the third quarter, took 3:16 off the clock for 13 plays and 54 yards.
With 11:21 remaining in the game, Huntley found Carrington in the end zone for the third time in the game, throwing for the 15-yard touchdown to give Utah a 44-16 lead. Carrington’s third touchdown of the game was at the end of a 45-yard drive that burned 2:59 of the clock.
Utah continued to put points on the board, scoring 10 in the final four minutes of the game. Gay recorded his fourth field goal of the game with a 20-yarder, followed by a 10-yard rushing touchdown by Devonta’e Henry-Cole. Henry-Cole’s touchdown was set up by a forced fumble from Leki Fotu and a recovery by Nick Heninger, giving the game a final score of 54-16.
The Utes continue action when they open Pac-12 play on the road at Arizona on Friday, Sept. 22. The game is set for an 8:30 p.m. MDT kick on FS1.
Game book/stats: utahsjsu
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