Utah’s offense has plenty of talent, but Arizona has likely faced its fair share of better offenses this season, such as Washington and UCLA.
The Utes are led by 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior quarterback Troy Williams. Arizona once tried to land Williams and he wound up choosing Washington.
That did not work out, he went to Santa Monica City College, and now finds himself at Utah. He has had mixed results this season, throwing six touchdown to four interceptions.
Williams is not a mobile quarterback despite running some zone read and it is similar to Anu Solomon running it in that if Williams wants to take off, so be it.
He tends to focus on one or two players while making his progressions, but has enough talent to hurt the opposition.
Williams best game of the season was against USC and he followed it up with his worst game of the season against California.
The good part for Utah is that Williams is not asked to do a ton because he has a strong running game behind him.
It appears that Troy McCormick is going to be out on Saturday or at least limited and he is third on the Utes with 196 yards and two touchdowns.
Unfortunately for Arizona, the Utes still have two good ones. Sophomore Armand Shyne has been impressive as of late and will get the start because of it.
At 5-foot-11, 214 pounds, Shyne is a powerful runner. He was able to pick up 99 yards against Cal and added 62 on only 14 carries against USC.
Behind Shyne is 5-foot-10, 213-pound freshman Zack Moss. He may not be starting, but Moss will probably get just as many carries as Shyne.
They are similar backs and the game plan won’t change much when one or the other is in the game, but Utah’s bread and butter has been its run game for the past few years now.
That’s not to say there isn’t talent at receiver. Senior Tim Patrick had some injury issues against Cal, but is expected to play against Arizona.
He leads the Utes with 24 catches for 429 yards and five touchdowns. He has easily been Utah’s best receiver and at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, the Wildcats are going to have major issues containing him.
Sophomore Raelon Singleton is the only other wide receiver on the team with double digit receptions and he is a bit inconsistent.
At 6-foot-3, nearly half of his 15 receptions this season came last week against Cal. He has big play potential, but is also kind of a feast or famine type of player.
Tight end Evan Moeai could be a dangerous player for Utah when you consider how tight ends often do against the Wildcats.
The 6-foot-2, 235-pound senior has 10 catches for 94 yards and has caught at least two passes in every game since the season opener.
The biggest question surrounding Utah this week may be the offensive line. Senior captain and starting center J.J. Dielman is out for the season and his backup Lo Falemaka is battling injury issues as well.
There is a chance that the Utes will have to reshuffle a large chunk of its offensive line ands when that happens, the offense as a whole could struggle a bit.
Players to Watch
#16, WR Cory Butler-Byrd: He was out against Cal, but the word is that he may be back for Saturday’s game against Arizona. If so, he adds another receiving weapon for the Utes and has the potential to make an impact.
#17, WR Demari Simpkins: His numbers don’t say much, but Simpkins has a bright future. Should Patrick not play, Simpkins may see the most snaps he has all season.
Keys to the Game:
1. Make Williams think: Often times, Utah’s quarterback focuses on one receiver. Arizona’s defense needs to attack him from numerous angles and make him uncomfortable.
2. Get off the field: Too many teams have been successful on third down against Arizona. If the Wildcats are going to win on the road, they need to get a few three and outs and get off the field.
3. Make Utah one dimensional: Arizona is going to run blitz quite a bit in hopes of forcing the Utes out of their comfort zone offensively.