Holli Joyce, KSL
Quarterback Tyler Huntley goes under center during the University of Utah’s Fall Camp Thursday, August 3, 2017.
It’s about that time again. Summer nights are getting cooler, kids are back in school, and Ute football is back. The University of Utah opens up its season against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. The game will be held Thursdday at 5:30 p.m. MDT.
The Utes finished 9-4 last season and will look to get off to a hot start. North Dakota is no cakewalk; the Fighting Eagles are ranked 10th in the FCS polls and coming off an impressive 9-3 record last season.
Here are six numbers you need to know for the Utes as they prepare to open their season.
The Utes’ biggest news of the summer was the naming of Tyler Huntley as the starting quarterback. This game will mark Huntley’s first start of his collegiate career. Last season, Huntley appeared in just four games as a true freshman, completing 5 of 7 passes for 60 yards. This will be a good opportunity as the weakest part of North Dakota’s defense was its ability to defend the pass. The Fighting Eagles had an FCS ranking of 107th in pass yards given up per game, and allowed 25 touchdowns through the air. If the Utes were looking to ease Huntley into action, this might have been the perfect time.
The addition of speedster Darren Carrington might help Huntley transition as well. Carrington comes to the Utes as a graduate transfer. You might remember him as the player who broke Ute fans’ hearts as he scored the winning touchdown with two seconds left for a poor Oregon Ducks team last season. Carrington led the Ducks in receiving yards with 606 on 43 receptions. Carrington also had an impressive 14.1 yards per reception last season. Perhaps the most exciting news for Ute fans is that many would consider his last season a disappointment. In his first two seasons with the Ducks, Carrington had an outstanding 19.0 yards per reception. The Utah passing game has a legitimate deep threat in its arsenal.
As poor as North Dakota’s pass defense was last…