Best Utah Offensive Player
RB Zach Moss, Jr.
Two caveats here. 1) Tyler Huntley should probably be in this spot, and likely will be at the end of the year, and 2) PK Matt Gay will probably be the most nationally-honored Ute offensive player.
The 5-10, 212-pound Moss is the steadying force who can handle the ball 20 times or more at any time, and he can crank out the big runs from time to time, too, averaging 5.5 yards per carry with 1,173 yards and ten scores. He got away from Miami – he’s related to Santana and Sinorice Moss – and after two years in Utah, he’s a key piece for the attack.
2. QB Tyler Huntley, Jr.
3. PK Matt Gay, Sr.
4. C Lo Falemaka, Sr.
5. WR Reason Singleton, Sr.
Best Utah Defensive Player
DE Bradlee Anae, Jr.
The stats don’t quite do him justice. The 6-3, 265-pound end led the team with seven sacks and ten tackles for loss with 39 stops, and he always did his job – he’s as sound as it gets. While he’s tough against the run, he forces fumbles, generates pressure, and brings the big hit. A few more sacks – stats do matter at times – and he’ll be noticed more as one of the Pac-12’s premier ends.
2. CB Julian Blackmon, Jr.
3. P Mitch Wisnowsky, Sr.
4. LB Chase Hansen, Sr.
5. DT Leki Fotu, Jr,
Key Player To A Successful Season
OT Jackson Barton, Sr.
The 6-7, 302-pounder has to be a star at left tackle after being steady for the last few seasons. He grew into a steady starter, and he’s got the length and the skills to be more than just capable, but the offense needs the line to be stronger.
It has to do more to keep Tyler Huntley upright – to be fair, his mobility and attempts to buy time led to plenty of tackles for loss – and the pass protection has to be steadier. Barton’s the veteran on the outside who has to grow into even more of a rock.
Key Game To The Utah Season
Washington, Sept. 15
In early November of 2015, the Utes got by Washington 34-23 on the way to a strong ten-win season. And that was it. That was the only time they’ve ever beaten the Huskies in 11 tries, going 1-5 since the move to the Pac-12. They’ve pushed hard the last two seasons – they had them last year; they had them, but lost late 33-30 in Seattle – but they couldn’t get it done.
There might be more important division games to deal with, but in Salt Lake City, a win over the team that should be everyone’s preseason favorite to win the conference would be a massive statement.
2017 Utah Fun Stats
– Sacks: Opponents 39 for 240 yards – Utah 25 for 188 yards
– Penalties: Utah 88 for 789 yards – Opponents 69 for 644 yards
– 3rd Quarter Points Allowed: 63 – 4th Quarter Points Allowed: 104