CSR Game Preview: Utah

Iowa State looks to build off its big victory last week over Texas Tech. Cyclone Sports Report provides you the most in-depth breakdown of what Utah will bring to Ames tonight.

Utah on offense:

The Utes are led by one of the top sophomore quarterbacks in the country as Jordan Wynn has completed 35 of 54 passes for 407 yards while throwing 5 touchdowns and only one interception. He missed the second and third games of the season due to a thumb injury. His replacement during those games was senior Terrance Cain connected on 37 of 49 passes for 486 yards and he also threw five touchdowns with no interceptions.

The running game is led by senior running backs Matt Asiata and Eddie Wade. Wide leads the team with 216 yards on 40 carries while Asiata has rushed the ball 40 times for 189 yards.

The two stars of the passing game have wide receivers Jereme Brooks who leads the team with 20 catches for 307 yards and 4 touchdowns and DeVonte Christopherson who has 12 catches for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The Utes offensive line has only allowed one sack which leads the nation. The star of the offensive line is senior center Zane Taylor who is flanked by guards Caleb Schlauderaff and Tevita Stevens. The starting tackles are juniors John Cullen and Tony Bergstrom.

Utah on defense:

The Utah defense is only giving up 12.8 points per game and has given up only three touchdowns so far in four games.

Utah rotates 12 players on the defensive line and is currently in the top 15 in the country in overall rush defense. Senior defensive end Christian Cox is the leader of the line. His bookend is Junior Tui'one while Sealver Siliga and rising sophomore Dave Kruger man the middle.

Utah has a very interesting mix at linebacker as two of their starters are former walk-ons (juniors Chaz Walker and Matt Martinez) and the other (Chad Manis) was a quarterback during his first two seasons. Walker leads the team in tackles with 40 and is 15th in the country with an average of 10 per game.

The secondary is led by All-American cornerback candidate Brandon Burton. The Utes like to blitz their cornerbacks and 5-foot-8 Lamar Chapman actually leads the team with 3.5 sacks on the season. Utah has an outstanding true freshman in Brian Blechen starting at strong safety and Justin Taplin-Ross starts at free safety.

CSR PREDICTION: Paul Rhoads teams are 9-0 when they hold teams under 24 points and 1-8 when they allow more than 24 points. So obviously if Iowa State wants to win this one they are most likely going to have to hold Utah way under their average of 42 points per game. In order to do that they MUST stop the Utah running game. In both their losses this year, the Cyclones defense has really struggled stopping the run so they must step up in front of what should be a huge home crowd tonight.

On offense, the Cyclones are coming off a huge game in which quarterback Austen Arnaud might have played his best game as a Cyclone. He'll need a repeat performance if the Cyclones are to have any chance to win the game.

The Iowa State offense is clicking right now and this Utah team has never beaten Iowa State. I feel that the Cyclones are ready to build off their great performance last week and spring the upset on the Utes. There will be a lot of offense scored and I'm predicting Iowa State 38 Utah 35.

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