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Utes offense continues to get better

The Utah Utes celebrate an interception against the USC Trojans during NCAA football in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – It doesn’t feel that long ago there were questions about the Utes offense and it has seemed to quiet down with the squad putting up its third straight 40 points or more outing.

The No. 23 Utes took down USC 41-28 at Rice Eccles Stadium on Saturday and the offense tacked on 541 total yards of offense. The team’s junior quarterback, Tyler Huntley, led the way throwing for 341 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also ran for 33 yards and a score.

It led some to ask head coach Kyle Whittingham Monday if it was Huntley’s best performance of his career.

“Probably so,” Whittingham said. “He has had some really good games for us, but if I had to narrow it down, that was probably the best game he’s played.

“His passer rating was outstanding, it was in the 200’s which is as good as you are going to find. He took care of the football, ran the ball effectively and got out of some tough spots in the pocket a couple of times. Yeah, I had would have to concur or agree with that.”

The Utes offense put a lot of points on the board versus Weber State in the first week of the season, but then against Northern Illinois only scored 17 in a victory. The following week the offense only scored once in a loss to Washington. Then against, now no. 14, Washington State scored 24 in a loss.

Since then the offense has exploded. It has put up over 1,400 yards in total offense and scored 123 points. In September Huntley had a 107.3 passer rating. So far in October he has a 197.6 passer rating.

Whittingham says Huntley and the team is getting more comfortable now with its run-pass-option (RPO).

“We are getting very proficient in the RPO and that is a strength of Tyler’s,” Whittingham said. “That is one of the things he does very well. He has been very good with his reads and he’s been patient in the pocket. It is a relatively new concept and we have gotten a lot of mileage out of it.”

The University of Utah football team will look to continue to build on its three-game winning streak against UCLA Friday. Kick-off is set for 8:30 P.M. MDT and will be televised on ESPN.