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Utah report card: Utes a mixed bag in rivalry win

PROVO — Utah won the rivalry game Saturday night 19-13 against BYU at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Utah took the lead with two field goals before halftime leading 6-0. In the second half, Utah went up 19-6 by adding a touchdown on the ground by Tyler Huntley and two more fields.

Even so, BYU had its chances at the end of the game to win with a touchdown, but the Utes defense tightened and the Utes left Provo with the win.

Here are Utah's grades against BYU:

Offense

Huntley is a baller, accounting for 300 yards passing and 89 yards on the ground, while Darren Carrington recorded 129 yards receiving on seven catches. If it wasn't for the Huntley's rushing, the Utes' run game would have been nonexistent. The running backs only totaled 15 attempts for 32 yards. What ultimately stalled the Ute offense was the holding penalties (5) and the turnovers (2). Also, five bad snaps put Huntley in some nervy predicaments. Nineteen points might have been enough to win this game, but come Pac-12 play, that number is not enough. One touchdown and four fields goal will not cut it.

Grade: C+

Defense

Coach Kyle Whittingham wanted more turnovers from his defense after only recording one last week against North Dakota. Whittingham got his wish with three interceptions off of BYU's Tanner Mangum. Furthermore, Utah held BYU under 60 yards rushing, proving that the Utes won the battle in the trenches. The first touchdown for BYU came was the result of a Ute turnover in favorable field position for the Cougars. Utah did stop the two-point conversion, but allowed a late touchdown to BYU, keeping the Cougars in the game til the end. But the Ute pressure was the undoing of Magnum, keeping him off balance all night long.

Grade: B+

Special Teams

Kicking and punting continues to show its strength for the Utes. Mitch Wishnowsky averaged 50.6 yards per punt and Matt Gay went 4 for 4 on field goals. The return game, however, does not have much punch at this time. Boobie Hobbs, Kyle Fulks and Kenric Young need to become more explosive moving forward for Utah's effectiveness in this phase of the game.

Grade: A-

Coaching

Utah offensive coordinator Troy Taylor really shows he knows how to use Huntley. The concern is how long will Huntley be able to take the beating on running plays. Huntley ran 19 times, while Zack Moss and Troy McCormick ran a combined 15 times. The coaching staff may have to ponder this, as well as another week of 11 penalties against their team. At the end of the game, Whittingham decided to punt instead of going for it on fourth-and-2 to ice the game. Instead, the Utes defense was up to the task and finished the rivalry game in Utah's favor by stopping the Cougars in four straight plays.

Grade: B+

Overall

Utah went into a hostile environment and came out on top. No doubt, the Utes will need to clean up the penalties and work on scoring more points, but next week against San José State should help tighten up the mistakes.

Grade: B

Shane Reinhard is a graduate of Weber State University and a teacher and coach at St. Joseph Catholic High School in Ogden, Utah. Email: sreinhard@stjosephutah.com. Follow on Twitter @hoopsters12.