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In the Utah football team’s win at Washington last weekend, three receivers made big catches in the fourth quarter after rarely being targeted all day.
Jaylen Dixon and Solomon Enis had caught one pass each and Samson Nacua didn’t have any passes thrown in his direction until those last two drives. They came through. The receivers’ performance all season has been remarkable, as they keep responding when their turn comes as quarterback Tyler Huntley compiles his highly efficient passing statistics.
Utah's 33-28 victory, with a go-ahead touchdown drive of 82 yards, then an 84-yard march for an insurance TD (which became important) was “a great game to show what we do as an offense,” Nacua said. “We're going to block if necessary, and if the ball comes our way in the fourth quarter, we're going to make those plays.”
The receivers are helping Huntley, who’s performing at an amazing level, as Tribune columnist Gordon Monson observed.
Utah’s offensive line improved in the second half in Seattle, after Bamidele Olaseni had a shoulder injury early in his Ute debut.
There’s more to savor from the “Utes in review” analysis, plus a suggestion that an improved UCLA team is worth worrying about next week.
Huntley, defensive tackle John Penisini and running back Zack Moss were honored as players of the week in the Pac-12.
The Utes moved to a season-high No. 8 in the AP Top 25, in the last week of major value for that poll. That’s because the College Football Playoff committee produces its own Top 25 now, and the Utes were ranked a program-high No. 8 in the first release Tuesday.
Monson pointed out how this Utah team may become judged as the best in school history.
This will be a theme of Utah’s men’s basketball season, amid the ups and downs: Coach Larry Krystkowiak likes his team, and the program’s future, as my 2019-20 preview story captured. The Utes validated his belief in a win at Nevada.
Freshman point guard Rylan Jones will be fun to watch as his career unfolds, starting with a five-assist game Tuesday.
The Utah women’s basketball program is on an a parallel track in many ways, with a strong group of freshmen, although the Utes lost at Cincinnati in their opener Tuesday. Utah plays Thursday night at Xavier, also in Cincinnati. Last week, I treated myself to one of the most enjoyable days of the year on the Ute athletics beat, joining 6,000 elementary school students in Halloween costumes for an exhibition game vs. Westminster College.
While in Seattle last weekend, I watched former Ute stars Marquise Blair and Cody Barton play in the Seahawks’ 40-34 overtime defeat of Tampa Bay, with Matt Gay kicking two field goals for the Bucs. Look for a bigger story this weekend about Blair, Barton and the surprising (so far) Seahawks.
• Ute athletic director Mark Harlan has a good conversation with columnist/radio host John Canzano (ORE).
• Pac-12 expert Jon Wilner has Utah’s cheering instructions for the LSU-Alabama game (MERC).
• Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News further breaks down what would have to happen for Utah to make the College Football Playoff (DNEWS).
• The Utah women’s soccer team (7-8-4, 2-5-3 Pac-12) will try to break even overall in its season finale Thursday, hosting Colorado at 7 p.m. It has been a rather frustrating season, but the Utes can feel good about themselves if they follow Sunday’s impressive, 1-0 win at Washington with another victory. Utah would move ahead of Colorado and into eighth place in the conference.
Senior Night at Ute Field will celebrate the careers of goalkeeper Carly Nelson and other four-year players.
• The Utah women’s cross country team moved to No. 9 in the national rankings after the program’s best-ever showing of third place in the Pac-12 Championships at Monmouth, Ore. Utah’s Poppy Tank (sixth) and Bella Williams (seventh), from England, and Ogden native Sarah Feeny (10th) led the the way as the Utes finished just ahead of powerful Colorado.
The Utes will host the NCAA Mountain Region Championships on Nov. 15 at Rose Park Golf Course.
• Utah’s No. 16 women’s volleyball team survived five-set matches vs. Arizona State and Arizona last weekend. The Utes (16-7, 8-4 Pac-12) are in a five-way tie for the second place in the conference. The team will play Thursday night at USC and Saturday at UCLA.