Utah sophomore quarterback Tyler Huntley, out of action since hurting his shoulder at Arizona on Sept. 22, could be cleared to play this Saturday against visiting Arizona State.
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The Utes (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) have lost the last two games without Huntley, a dual-threat quarterback who led the Utes to a 3-0 start before suffering the injury against Arizona.
Utah went on to beat Arizona with backup Troy Williams, a senior who was the starter last season, playing for most of the last three quarters. After a week off, the Utes have narrowly lost to Pac-12 division leaders Stanford and USC by a combined four points with Williams at quarterback.
Huntley reportedly will resume practicing with the team this week.
"Every week that goes by, (Huntley) gets healthier and closer to being cleared," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said during his Monday press conference. "Like I said last week, from this point on, it’s just day-to-day until they say yes or no. Every day is a yes or no."
Williams, who started all 13 games in 2016, told the media Monday he is preparing as if he will start against the Sun Devils.
"I know (Huntley) is getting healthy. I’m happy for him," Williams said. "So I’m sure whenever he feels 100 (percent) and he can go, he’ll be ready to go. I just have to continue to be myself."
Either Huntley or Williams will face an upstart ASU defense that yielded only 136 passing yards to Washington quarterback Jake Browning in the Sun Devils’ 13-7 upset win over the Huskies last week in Tempe, Ariz.
"They had great pressure on the quarterback first and foremost," Whittingham said of Arizona State, which sacked Browning five times. "They hadn’t given up less than 30 points in any of their last five games, so it was a complete turnaround on how they played on defense.
"It was a home game and they were juiced up and excited. It is such a game of emotion and that is one example right there on how your mental state of mind and preparedness is so key in football. It is huge. They were ready."
NOTES: LB Sunia Tauteoli had a career-high two pass breakups in the loss at USC last week. He finished with six tackles. He leads the Utes in tackles (42) and tackles for loss (7.5). … RB Zack Moss had a career-high 141 yards rushing on 20 attempts at USC. He also had 26 yards receiving on three catches. … Arizona State leads the series against Utah 20-8, but the Utes have won the last two meetings, including a 49-26 triumph in Tempe, Ariz., last season.