Stout Utah Special Teams Will Be Big Challenge for Bears

Cal and Utah are the only two undefeated teams left in the Pac-12 North, and they'll be squaring off on College Game Day this Saturday. What's the crucial match-up the Bears will be facing in Salt Lake City?

Key Quote from Sunday:

"In the locker room after the game the other night, I tried to mention Game Day to the players, and I said, ‘You know what we’ve got to do now that it’s Game Day, right?’ They said, ‘Yeah: Nothing any different.’ They believe that. They believe that we just have to go out and prepare." -- Cal head coach Sonny Dykes

Key quote on this match-up:

"They've made a lot of plays on special teams. You look at the games, and they've got a dynamic punt returner [Britain Covey], a dynamic kick returner [Cory Butler]. Obviously, their punter [Tom Hackett]. What they did against Oregon, the punt return for a touchdown was a big play. They're a very experienced football team. When you look at their roster, they've got a lot of guys who have played a lot of snaps, have been in the program for a long time and they've had a lot of consistency in their program, and it's served them well. They're a very mature football team, certainly, physically, and they play with a lot of confidence."

Some Special Teams Numbers

Utah ranks third in the nation in net punting (43.87). Reigning Ray Guy Award winner and consensus All-American Hackett is averaging 47.8 yards a punt (15 punts, 717 yards) and opponents have returned just three of them for 19 yards … The Utes are one of three teams in the nation with two punt return touchdowns.

Covey is averaging 16.6 yards per punt return on nine take-backs, with one touchdown.

Butler-Byrd has two kickoff returns for 114 yards and one touchdown.

Utah is ranked eighth in the nation (second in the Pac-12) in punt return average (21.80, 10 returns for 218 yards) … The Utes lead the Pac-12 and ranks ninth in the nation in kickoff return average (29.60, five returns for 148 yards).


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