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Utah football: Utes complete a lot of passes in Red-White Game

Utah Utes quarterback Tyler Huntley (1) looks to pass the ball during the Red-White game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 13, 2019.
Utah Utes quarterback Tyler Huntley (1) looks to pass the ball during the Red-White game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 13, 2019.
Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — There were some big receptions in Utah’s Red-White Game. A total of 29 catches were made in the spring finale.

Quarterbacks Jason Shelley and Cameron Rising combined for 15 receptions in leading the Red squad to a 21-14 victory at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Each had throws of 24 yards or greater.

Returning starter Tyler Huntley of the White team had the most success. The senior completed 8 of 9 passes for 158 yards. He teamed with Bryan Thompson on a 59-yard throw and connected with Devonta’e Henry-Cole for a 31-yard connection. Drew Lisk and Zach Hymas also saw action in the scrimmage.

“Our receivers did a good job today. The running backs did a good job. They caught a couple of passes out of the backfield,” Huntley said. “And we just did a nice job of executing a couple of plays.”

Huntley added that he feels pretty good about the offense coming out of spring ball. He predicted it’s going to be a great season once he gets every aspect of the offense locked down.

Seventeen players caught passes. Devin Brumfield rushed for 67 yards to lead 11 runners with positive yardage.

Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig said it was a good finish to spring.

“A good springboard to the summer workouts, which are absolutely critical to our success,” he said.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham was pleased with the execution, although he acknowledged it was a very watered down, very vanilla version of the offense.

The defense, he explained, was very watered down as well. Defensive end Tyler Gonzalez registered two sacks and Nevada transfer Nephi Sewell had the game’s lone interception.

“We saw some guys step up and make plays and that’s what we wanted to see,” Whittingham said. “So I thought it was a positive day.”

STRONG SPRING: Defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley backed up his claim that sophomore linebacker Devin Lloyd is the most improved player on defense.

“That’s him getting in the film room and him learning from Cody Barton and Chase Hansen. There’s a guy that took their leadership and decided to do what they did,” Scalley said. “It’s showing on the football field. He’s always been a long-levered athletic kid, now he’s coming into his own. He’s feeling more confident with his weight, more confident with the scheme, and it’s showing with his productivity.”

ON THE LINE: Building depth on the offensive line, where the Utes must replace three starters, was an obvious priority for the Utes this spring.

“We still have a lot of work to get done but I think there was a lot of improvement,” said offensive line coach Jim Harding. “A lot of young guys got an opportunity to get some reps and so we’ll see where we’re at come August.”

MARCHING HOME: Former Utah safety Marcus Williams of the New Orleans Saints was among those on the sidelines during the Alumni Flag Football Game.

It wasn’t his first return since turning pro in 2017. He attended a game that year and has been back in Salt Lake City a couple of times.

“It’s always home here just coming back and just seeing your former coaches and former teammates,” he said.

Williams still follows and supports the Utes closely and admits to screaming at the TV and stuff like that when watching the games.

As for the Saints, who suffered a controversial loss to the Los Angeles Rams in last year’s NFC Championship Game, Williams said they’re a strong team that can bounce back from anything.

“Every loss hurts,” he continued. “No matter what time of the year it is.”