Lost in the first three games of Tyler Huntley’s explosion as Utah’s starting quarterback was the fact that his favorite target, Darren Carrington II, came to Salt Lake City expecting to catch passes from a different quarterback.
Senior quarterback Troy Williams, who connected with Carrington on a 40-yard pass the first play after Huntley went down with a shoulder injury against Arizona, was one of the first Utes to connect with Carrington via text message after Oregon dismissed the star receiver.
“I’ve known Troy since high school,” Carrington said. “I always know he’s ready. I know when I’m in there and he’s in there, it’s time to make plays. Same thing with Tyler, but with the backup everybody thinks we take a step back or something, but it’s not even like that.”
Stanford at No. 20 Utah
Saturday, Oct. 7, 8:15 p.m.
TV • FS1
Carrington and Huntley enjoyed massive success the first three games. Carrington eclipsed 100 yards receiving in each of those games, and after the third game compared Huntley to Carrington’s former Oregon teammate and current NFL quarterback Marcus Mariota.
This season, Carrington has averaged 121.3 yards receiving per game, which ranked first among all Pac-12 receivers and 10th in Football Bowl Subdivision going into this weekend’s games.
Williams and Carrington, two former California high school standouts and Division I recruits, have kept in touch throughout their collegiate careers.
“I didn’t really know Tyler too much when I [got here],” Carrington said. “I knew of him, considering he was a big player in Florida, but I didn’t really know him. Troy, that’s been my dude since high school. I knew we were going to come here and make some plays. Whoever’s in there, it’s time to make plays. But yeah, that was a big part of me coming here. Definitely.”
Freshman cornerback Jaylon Johnson and sophomore cornerback Julian Blackmon both posted top 10 rankings among the top Pac-12 cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus through four weeks. The rankings were done by lowest passer rating when targeted for corners with a minimum of 40 snaps in coverage.
Johnson ranked second with an opponent passer rating of 20.8 behind only Washington’s Byron Murphy (8.8). Blackmon (50.5) came in seventh on the list. Blackmon leads the team with two interceptions, while he and Johnson remain tied for the team lead in pass breakups with three apiece.
Odds and ends
The Utes have gone 10-4 coming out of regular-season bye weeks under coach Kyle Whittingham and 4-4 after regular-season bye weeks since joining the Pac-12 with a four-game win streak in those games. … The Utes game against Stanford on Oct. 7 will serve as this year’s homecoming game. The Utes will wear throwback jerseys featuring the Utah Stripe. The university will recognize the homecoming court on the field during halftime. A full list of homecoming week activities is available online at alumni.utah.edu/homecoming … The U. also will conduct a Hurricane Relief Drive on Saturday for hurricane victims in Houston and Florida. Items can be donated at pods located in select campus parking lots.