Utah vs New Mexico- Position Breakdowns

Who has the edge at each position? InsideTheUtes.com breaks down the battles...

The matchups:

Quarterback
Terrance Cain vs. B.R. Holbrook
Holbrook is only a sophomore and could end up being pretty good by the time he leaves New Mexico. He put up over 300 yards on Texas Tech. Utah isn't Texas Tech though and has a much stouter D. Terrance Cain is likely filling in for Jordan Wynn again this week. He was efficient, but not spectacular against UNLV, which is just the way the coaches want it. Advantage: Utah

Running Back
Matt Asiata and Eddie Wide vs. Demond Dennis
Dennis has only 30 yards on the season. 30!!!!! Somehow he's still the starter averaging 2 yards per carry. New Mexico just can't run the ball. Wide and Asiata have been solid so far this year, but I think we're all waiting for one of them to break a long run. That will happen this week. Advantage: Utah

Wide Receiver
Jereme Brooks , Luke Matthews, Shaky Smithson and DeVonte Christopher vs. Chris Hernandez, Bryan Williams, and Ty Kirk
Ty Kirk led all MWC freshman in receiving last year. Outside of that, there isn't much. Brooks was great again against UNLV. No reason to think this group won't have a big day against the awful New Mexico secondary. Advantage: Utah

Tight End
Brad Clifford/Kendrick Moeia vs. Lucas Reed
Lucas Reed was a freshman all American in 2009 after making 17 catches. He's tall, rangy, and athletic, and a better blocker than his size would indicate. Clifford and Moeia have only 3 catches between them through the first two games. The blocking has been solid, but neither is getting open enough. Advantage: New Mexico

Left Tackle
John Cullen vs. Byron Bell
For the third straight week Cullen's counterpart is an elite player, which is what successful teams generally need at left tackle. Bell is 6'5" and 325 lbs and one of the best in the conference. He'll be in the NFL next year. Cullen wasn't great against UNLV, but again didn't allow a sack. Advantage: New Mexico

Left Guard
Caleb Schlauderaff vs. Karlin Givens
Givens split time as the starter in 2009, but has been the main guy this year. He's got good size and is very strong, but isn't the quickest or most mobile lineman out there. Schlauderaff continues to be the Utes' best lineman, leading the team in pancakes. With Taylor out, he'll be the anchor. Advantage: Utah

Center
Tevita Stevens vs. Dillon Farrel
Farrel is redshirt freshman with a promising future. He's tall for a center at 6'5" and should be a four year starter. Stevens is filling in for Taylor and will be making his first career start at center. He has plenty of experience at guard, but center is a completely different animal. Advantage: Even

Right Guard
Sam Brenner and Walter Watts vs. Mike Cannon
.Cannon was a part time starter at guard in 2009 and a veteran on the line. Brenner should get the start, but Watts will see time as well. Both are quality backups and Brenner should be a starter in 2011. Advantage: Even

Right Tackle
Tony Bergstrom vs. Maurice Mears
Mears is a solid athlete who started a few games in 2009 as an injury replacement, but he's not Tony Bergstrom. I've been more and more impressed with Bergstrom each week and think he could make a strong push for an All MWC firs team spot. Advantage: Utah

Defensive Ends
Junior Tui'one and Christian Cox/Derrick Shelby vs. Johnathon Rainey and Jaymar Latchison
Rainey was second in the conference in sacks in 2009 with 9.5 sacks. He's very quick and could give the tackles some trouble. Latchison is a big kid who notched 4.5 sacks in 2009 while starting all 12 games. This duo is very good. The Utes defensive ends didn't get any pressure on UNLV last week. Until they show improvement, the Lobos get the edge. Advantage: New Mexico

Defensive Tackle
Sealver Siliga and Dave Kruger vs. Peter Gardner and Ugo Uzodinma
Gardner started all 12 games in 2009, with his specialty being the pass rush as he had 9 QB hurries. Uzodinma is a newcomer from Illinois with a lot of upside. Siliga and Kruger didn't have the game in week 2 that they did in week 1, but are still the premier tandem in the Mountain West. Advantage: Utah

Linebackers
Chad Manis, Matt Martinez, Chaz Walker vs Carmen Messina, Spencer Merrit, and Joe Stoner
Messina led the nation in tackles in 2009 with 162, which is an unbelievable number. That may have been inflated because he was on the field so much with New Mexico being so poor, but he's still a special player. He is hobbled this week and may not play much. Merrit and Stoner are new starters this year. Walker leads the nation in tackles for the Utes and has been unbelievable. Martinez had a great game against UNLV showing more energy and was always around the ball. Manis has continued to be steady. Advantage: Utah

Cornerback
Brandon Burton and Lamar Chapman vs. Anthony Hooks and DeShawn Mills
Burton has established himself as the best corner in the conference. Chapman displayed his speed with two sacks last weeks on blitzes. Hooks is a returning starter who will be locked up with Jereme Brooks. Mill started three games in 2009. New Mexico has been consistently lit up in the passing game. Advantage: Utah

Safety
Justin Taplin-Ross and Brian Blechen vs. Freddy Young and Bubba Forest
Young and Forest have only five starts between them and New Mexico can't stop the pass (along with the run). Blechen could be the best freshman safety in the country while Tap-Tap continues to impress. This isn't even close Advantage: Utah

Kicker
Joe Phillips vs. James Aho
Aho made his only field goal attempt of the year. Phillips is perfect at 3-3 and continues to be one of the best in the country. Advantage: Utah

Punter
Sean Sellwood vs Ben Skaer
Sellwood had one punt for 60 yards against UNLV and then his other punt blocked. It's not all his fault that he has had two blocked in two games, but he has to share some of the blame. Skaer has 11 punts for an average of 42 yards on the year. Sellwood is a better kicker, but can't keep having his punts blocked. Advantage: Even

Kick/Punt Returner
Shaky Smithson vs. Bryan Williams and Ty Kirk
New Mexico is yet to return a punt this year. That's a testament to how bad their defense is. They have returned a lot of kickoffs for just over 20 yards per return. Shaky Smithson took a punt back for a TD last week. He's back, and he'll do it again at some point this year. Advantage: Utah

Totals- Utah 11 New Mexico 3 Even 3

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