By Kevin Graham:
Here are the three keys to victory for both Utah and Utah State and my prediction:
1. Run at them, run over them: The Utah offensive line isn’t as strong as past years with two new tackles but they are still physical and bigger which gives them the advantage over Utah State’s smaller defensive front and linebackers. The Utes should establish the run early with John White which will help Jordan Wynn have some success in the throw game.
2. You can’t stop Chuckie you can only hope to contain him. Considering Keeton will be on the move regularly the Utah defense needs to do everything they can to keep him the pocket and it would definitely help to hit him often to keep him from getting comfortable.
3. Put them away early. The longer the Utes let USU hang around the more confident they will become which could be dangerous. You don’t want this thing close enough where you need, for example, a Coleman Peterson field goal to win. Considering his struggles last week that would not be a good thing.
Utah State Keys:
1. See Chuckie run, see Chuckie throw the ball quickly. Utah State cannot go straight at the strong Utah defensive line so they have to run away from them. That means Keeton needs to equalize that dominant front with his feet and quick throws.
2. Stack the box. Whittingham complained that his team didn’t have enough explosive plays in game one. That falls on Jordan Wynn not connecting on the long ball. Expect the Aggies to put eight to nine in the box to stop the run and force Wynn to beat them.
3. Gamble early and often. Offensively expect some shenanigans and trickeration. Defensively don’t be surprised if Gary Andersen reverts to what worked for him when he was the defensive coordinator at Utah and the game plan he used that beat Alabama. That was changing up looks, pressuring from all different angles and doing everything possible to confuse the offense.
Prediction: Utah 31 Utah State 20
This game opened up the week with Utah as a seven point favorite. It has increased to as many as 10. Vegas is usually right. The Aggies will be a motivated bunch but when it’s all said and done they still don’t have the depth and talent needed to pull off the upset. But I do expect it to definitely be competitive. A fitting end to what could be the final game played between these two instate rivals in Logan.