SALT LAKE CITY — After catching just one pass for 8 yards in Utah’s win against Washington, Ute tight end Brant Kuithe was a lot more involved in Saturday’s win over UCLA.
Kuithe had a career night, leading Utah in receiving yards with 132 and setting his personal career high. It was the first 100-yard receiving game by a Ute tight end since Jake Murphy had 102 receiving yards against Washington State in 2013.
“After that touchdown, I figured I should be about 100, so close to a career high. I just thank Tyler (Huntley) for throwing me the ball and giving me the ball in space, too,” Kuithe said.
“They left him open; he made great plays down the field on his way to the touchdown.” — Utah QB Tyler Huntley, on Brant Kuithe’s 69-yard TD catch
From the first drive, Kuithe was a focal point of Utah’s offense as he hauled in Utah’s first completed pass for 9 yards. The sophomore was targeted two more times on the drive, catching both, including an 11-yard pass in the red zone to set up Huntley’s 2-yard touchdown rush.
“He’s just a tremendous athlete and it’s not anything we scripted differently other than he just happened to shake free more often than he had in the past. He’s played really good football for us all year long, but he’s a tremendous weapon,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.
Whittingham said Kuithe is a tough matchup for any team.
“I don’t know if teams really know how to account for him because he can’t be covered by a linebacker and even safeties struggle with him,” Whittingham said. “One of the strengths of Andy (Ludwig, Utah offensive coordinator) is he puts guys in position to maximize their ability and what they do best. He’s certainly done that with Brant Kuithe.”
Kuithe’s finest moment came in the third quarter when he ran down the left sideline uncovered on third-and-4. UCLA safety Stephan Blaylock closed in on him at the 55-yard line, but Kuithe spun out of his grasp and down the sideline for a 69-yard touchdown — the longest reception of his career — that put Utah up 35-3.
“Snoop (Huntley) got me the ball and I was open in space and I just made a move. Credit to the O-line and credit that to Tyler,” Kuithe said.
The Katy, Texas, native added to his impressive night with a 26-yard reception late in the third quarter and ended the game catching five of his six targets.
When asked what UCLA was not doing to allow Kuithe to get open, Huntley deadpanned, “guarding him.”
“They left him open; he made great plays down the field on his way to the touchdown,” he said.
Huntley added that having five people capable of catching the ball on the field is a plus.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER RECORD: Zack Moss set yet another school record in Saturday’s game. With legendary Ute running back Eddie Johnson in attendance, Moss moved past Johnson to second in career all-purpose yards. Moss had 200 all-purpose yards on Saturday — 127 rushing yards and 73 receiving yards — moving him to 4,191 all-time all-purpose yards, eclipsing Johnson’s mark of 4,074. Steve Odom holds the school record with 4,755 all-purpose yards.
EXTRA POINTS: Johnson was recognized during a first-quarter break. He was presented with a signed jersey. … With the win, Utah is now 40-40 (.500) against Pac-12 teams as a member of the conference. … Utah won its sixth straight game, the first time the Utes have won six consecutive since the 2015 season. … The Utes extended their home winning streak to 10 straight victories. … The Utes held a team without a touchdown for the fourth time this season. ... Jazz players Donovan Mitchell and Royce O’Neale were on the sidelines at the game.