NCAAF Game Recap - Northern Illinois at Utah
Sat Sep 7, 2019 1:00 PM EDT

TxAM
10
Clem
24
F
NMSt
10
Ala
62
F
Murr
17
UGA
63
F
SD
14
Okla
70
F
Cin
0
OHSt
42
F
LSU
45
Tex
38
F
Army
21
Mich
24
F(1OT)
Tul
6
Aub
24
F
UT-M
0
Fla
45
F
NIU
17
Utah
35
F
Cal
20
Wash
19
F
Buff
13
PSU
45
F
Nev
6
Oreg
77
F
C Mi
0
Wisc
61
F
UCF
48
FlAtl
14
F
WestMI
17
MSU
51
F
Rut
0
Iowa
30
F
Syr
20
MD
63
F
NoCol
17
WaSt
59
F
Stan
20
USC
45
F
Marsh
7
Boise
14
F
Neb
31
Colo
34
F OT
Wake
41
Rice
21
F
W&M
17
UVA
52
F
SacSt
7
AzSt
19
F
Ohio
10
Pitt
20
F
(N/A)
23
Kent
26
F
WVU
7
Mizzu
38
F
Sou
24
Mem
55
F
BGSU
0
K St
52
F
OD
17
VaTec
31
F
ChaSo
10
SCar
72
F
Vand
24
Purd
42
F
UAB
31
Akr
20
F
WCU
0
NCSt
41
F
SoFL
10
GATec
14
F
Ford
29
Ball
57
F
TnTec
17
MiaOH
48
F
SMiss
15
MisSt
38
F
Gram
14
LaTec
20
F
SIU
45
UMass
20
F
E Il
0
Ind
52
F
Ill
31
UConn
23
F
Rich
13
BC
45
F
Char
41
App
56
F
WIl
13
ColSt
38
F
UTSA
14
Bayl
63
F
SDSU
23
UCLA
14
F
ULMon
44
FlaSt
45
F OT
Maine
18
GaSo
26
F
GWebb
9
ECU
48
F
NCAT
13
Duke
45
F
Furm
42
GASt
48
F
Wyo
23
TxSt
14
F
JacSt
14
SoAl
37
F
NorTx
27
SMU
49
F
McNee
14
OkSt
56
F
TnSt
26
MidTN
45
F
CoCar
12
Kans
7
F
BYU
29
Tenn
26
F(1OT)
E Ky
0
Lou
42
F
W Ky
20
FLInt
14
F
Stony
7
UtSt
62
F
Ark
17
Miss
31
F
Lib
14
ULLaf
35
F
E Mi
17
KY
38
F
UTEP
3
TxTch
38
F
PVAM
17
Hou
37
F
MiaFL
25
UNC
28
F
Tuls
34
SJSU
16
F
ArkSt
43
UNLV
17
F
Minn
38
Fres
35
F(1OT)
NoAZ
41
Ariz
65
F
OreSt
28
Hawaii
31
F

Sep 7, 2019, 1:00 PM EDT

Final

1

2

3

4

T

Northern Illinois (1-1)

7

10

0

0

17

(13) Utah (2-0)

0

21

7

7

35

Huntley leads No. 13 Utah past Northern Illinois 35-17
Sat Sep 7, 2019 5:53 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Four years ago, three talented players from Hallandale High School in the Miami area became enchanted with the mountains of Utah. Now the group, who has been dubbed the Hallandale Trio, has the Utes poised to reach new heights.

Tyler Huntley, Zack Moss and Demari Simpkins each had rushing touchdowns for the No. 13 Utes in a 35-17 win over Northern Illinois on Saturday.

Moss, who rushed for 80 yards and scored twice, had a chance to go in the NFL draft but wanted to come back and see what he and his teammates, especially his childhood friends, could do this season.

"It was really cool to see us all get into the end zone," Moss said.

Moss has been the focal point of the Utes offense, but it was Huntley who was the engine that powered the Utes over the Huskies, coupled with a defense that held the NIU attack to 69 yards in the second half. An effective pass rush, an interception and a fourth-down stop shackled the Huskies.

"We didn't play our best football defensively in that first half. Offensively, however, we did. We played very well from start to finish. I thought Tyler was outstanding," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.

Huntley finished 14 for 19 for 214 yards and ran for 38 yards, without a sack for second straight game.

"The coaches are asking more of me," the senior quarterback said. "Every time we come to the line I am ready to get us into a better play for the offense to execute. I take great pride in putting us in the best position."

Northern Illinois (0-2) kept pace with Utah (2-0) in the first two quarters with an effective mix of short passes and QB runs. Bowers had 202 yards passing to eight receivers from a variety of formations as the vaunted Utes defense couldn't seem to predict where the each pass was going.

Last year, the Huskies kept Moss to 66 yards, his lowest rushing total of the season as Utah edged NIU, 17-6, in DeKalb. Moss, tops in the nation for yards after contact the past couple years, carried tacklers on nearly every play as the Huskies keyed on the Utes running back. That opened the field for Huntley and the receiving corps, who only saw 16 pass plays in the season opener against BYU. There were only a few more throws against NIU but six went for 20 yards or more.

Early on, NIU was rolling. After going 5 for 5 and 52 yards passing on NIU's first scoring drive, Bowers waited for a key block and somersaulted into the end zone over late-arriving Utes tacklers.

"I was getting a lot of great protection. I thought our receivers played really, really hard. I thought they did a good job of pressing Utah's secondary," said Bowers, who finished 20 of 29 with 229 yards passing.

New Huskies coach Thomas Hammock suffered his first loss as NIU has never defeated a team ranked as high as Utah. For the second straight season, the Huskies made the Utes sweat, beyond what was expected with the 11 a.m. start and temperatures in the 80s under sunny skies.

"We had some different type of run/pass options for the quarterback and they were giving us looks to throw the ball that were advantageous," Hammock said. "The quarterback and receivers did a great job taking advantage of what the defense was giving us."

Midway through the second quarter, the score was tied at 14-14. Spencer Tears flashed an upside-down `U' with his hands after catching a 74-yard reception, drawing vociferous boos from the north end zone fans.

Vonte Davis - in at safety for injured Ute Julian Blackmon, who later returned and had an interception - underestimated Tears' speed as the wideout stepped out of his tackle and raced down the NIU sideline. It was NIU's longest pass play since Tears had an 81-yard scoring reception against San Diego State in 2017.

"We came out with a more ticked off attitude after they scored like that on us in our home stadium," said Bradlee Anae, who had three sacks and a forced fumble as Utah stopped the Huskies on all six third-down attempts in the second half.

Whittingham said the defense tightened up their coverages and dialed up the pressure in the second half.

"Playing behind a defensive line like that makes it easier. The quarterback has to get the ball out and that is why we get our picks," Blackmon said.

The Utes, who were the media's preseason choice to win the Pac-12, had just one penalty and hasn't turned the ball over this year. The offensive line played without two starters with leg injuries, Orlando Umana and Johnny Maea.

NIU's Mykelti Williams was ejected for targeting in the fourth quarter after his big hit caused a fumble that was negated by the penalty. On the next play, Huntley found Jaylen Dixon for a 14-yard TD pass.

Even though Utah is a team known for their defense, the Hallandale Trio looks to inject themselves into the Utes identity.

"Those three guys are terrific. They have been just great teammates and great team players since they got here. They are disciplined, they are talented and they work hard," Whittingham said. "They are all graduating this December. They have done everything we have hoped they would and more since they have been here."

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Utes continue to play mistake-free football but the modest score against a Group-of-5 opponent may not make a big impression on the voters.

THE TAKEAWAY

Northern Illinois: The Huskies had one of the nation's top defenses befuddled until the Utes made some crucial adjustments in their pass defense and pressures.

Utah: The Utes haven't lost a home opener since dropping the 2007 debut to Air Force, 20-12. It wasn't pretty early, but the Utes had a balanced attack of 214 passing and 193 yards rushing and the outcome wasn't in doubt after Moss's 5-yard TD run in the third quarter. "That's the goal every week for the run game to help the pass game and the pass game to help the run game," Moss said of the balanced attack.

UP NEXT

Northern Illinois: The Huskies visit No. 25 Nebraska.

Utah: The Utes complete their preseason schedule without leaving the state by hosting Idaho State on Saturday.

---

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Passing

NIU Att Cmp % TD-Pa Yds-Pa LgPa Int Rat
R. Bowers 29 20 69.0 1 229 74 1 89.6
M. Childers 2 1 50.0 0 6 6 0 56.3
Utah Att Cmp % TD-Pa Yds-Pa LgPa Int Rat
T. Huntley 19 14 73.7 1 214 38 0 128.0

Rushing

NIU Att Yds-Ru Avg LgRu TD-Ru
J. Nettles 10 37 3.7 14 0
T. Harbison 6 32 5.3 17 0
Utah Att Yds-Ru Avg LgRu TD-Ru
Z. Moss 18 80 4.4 25 2
T. Huntley 3 38 12.7 22 1

Receiving

NIU Rec Yds-Rc Avg LgRc TD-Rc
S. Tears 5 112 22.4 74 1
D. Crawford 3 49 16.3 37 0
Utah Rec Yds-Rc Avg LgRc TD-Rc
B. Thompson 2 66 33.0 38 0
J. Dixon 4 46 11.5 22 1

Fumbles

NIU F FL
R. Bowers 1 0

Returning

Utah KR Avg KRTD LgKR PR Avg TD LgPR
B. Covey 2 18.5 0 23 1 1.0 0 1

Punting

NIU Punt Yds Avg LgPu
M. Ference 6 257 42.8 56
Utah Punt Yds Avg LgPu
B. Lennon 4 181 45.3 62

Takeaways

Utah Int Yds InTD
J. Blackmon 1 0 0

Team Stats Comparison

NIU Utah
Points For 17 35
Total Yards 302 407
Rushing Yards 67 193
Passing Yards 235 214
Passing Completions / Attempts 21/31 14/19
Turnovers 1 0
Interceptions Thrown 1 0
Fumbles - Lost 1/0 0/0
First Downs 14 19
Penalties - Yards 6/50 1/10
Time Of Possession 26:26 34:34
Third Down Conversions/Attempts 2/12 5/11
Fourth Down Conversions/Attempts 1/2 1/2
Punts - Average Yards 6/43 4/45

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter NIU Utah
NIU 11:42 TD Ross Bowers 9 yd run (John Richardson kick) 7 0
2nd Quarter NIU Utah
Utah 1:19 TD Demari Simpkins 13 yd run (Jadon Redding kick) 7 7
Utah 6:40 TD Tyler Huntley 16 yd run (Jadon Redding kick) 7 14
NIU 7:40 TD Spencer Tears 74 yd pass from Ross Bowers (John Richardson kick) 14 14
Utah 12:12 TD Zack Moss 16 yd run (Jadon Redding kick) 14 21
NIU 14:09 FG John Richardson 46 yd FG 17 21
3rd Quarter NIU Utah
Utah 2:44 TD Zack Moss 5 yd run (Jadon Redding kick) 17 28
4th Quarter NIU Utah
Utah 2:11 TD Jaylen Dixon 14 yd pass from Tyler Huntley (Jadon Redding kick) 17 35

Game Information

Stadium: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah
Attendance: 45,919
Game Time:
Weather: