Brian Johnson passed for 220 yards and a touchdown in his first start, and coach Kyle Whittingham won in his Utah debut as the Utes beat Arizona 27-24 in Salt Lake City Friday night and extended their winning streak to 17 games.
Quinton Ganther ran for 127 yards and took a shovel pass from Johnson 47 yards for Utah’s first touchdown of the season. Brent Casteel had a 59-yard touchdown run in his first college game, and Eric Weddle returned an interception 24 yards for a score for Utah, which won its fifth straight season opener.
Nobody was quite sure what to expect this year from the Utes, who are coming off a 12-0 season and missing many of the key players and coaches from a year ago.
Johnson replaced Alex Smith, the Heisman Trophy finalist and top overall pick in the NFL draft. The 18-year-old sophomore survived a difficult first quarter and some early nervousness, leading the Utes (1-0) to 446 yards of offense.
Whittingham coached his first game after spending the last 11 seasons as a Utah assistant. He was promoted from defensive coordinator after Urban Meyer took the coaching job at Florida.
Indiana 20, Central Michigan 13: Blake Powers threw for three touchdowns in his first start while James Hardy and Marcus Thigpen combined for seven grabs and 199 yards in their first game to help the Hoosiers beat the Chippewas at Mount Pleasant, Mich.
C. Washington 56, Montana-Western 0: Central Washington quarterback Mike Reilly threw four touchdown passes in the first half as the Wildcats (1-1) shut out the Bulldogs (0-2) at Ellensburg.
Reilly completed 12 of 17 passes for 206 yards. He tossed touchdowns of 38 yards to Brandon Robertson and 8 yards to Nate Brookreson in the first quarter.
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