Jordan Wynn vs. Austen Arnaud
Arnaud is one of the top dual threat quarterbacks in the country with almost 6,000 career passing yards and over 1,100 yards on the ground. He's coming off of a 4 TD performance against Texas Tech. Doesn't have great numbers so far this year, but is Iowa State's most dangerous player. His 49 career touchdowns are impressive. Wynn was brought back slowly against San Jose State and wasn't expected to do much. He's going to be 100% this week and that could open up the downfield passing game.
Matt Asiata and Eddie Wide vs. Alexander Robinson
Robinson was an All Big 12 honorable mention runner in 2009 with almost 1,200 total yards. He's a shifty runner who also excels catching balls out of the backfield. Asiata and Wide had their best game two weeks ago in San Jose State. The total yardage numbers may not have shown it, but they both were hitting the hole with more emphasis than in games past. The Utah running backs should be able to take advantage of the poor Cyclone run defense.
Jereme Brooks , Luke Matthews, Shaky Smithson and DeVonte Christopher vs. Sedrick Johnson, Jake Williams, and Darius Darks,
Johnson, Williams, and Darks are not going to be a serious threat for the Utes secondary as they've combined for only 2 touchdowns on the season. Darks is probably the biggest threat with his 49 catches in 2008. Luke Matthews has been a disappointment to this point with only four catches on the year. Brooks has been tremendous with 20 catches and 4 touchdowns. Shaky has been his consistent self and could break one at any time.
Kendrick Moeia vs. Collin Franklin
Franklin is one of the best tight ends in the Big 12 and has over 600 career receiving yards and 21 catches this season. He had a career high six catches last week against Texas Tech. Moeia seems to have been passed over by Dallin Rogers as Jordan Wynn's favorite tight end target.
Advantage: Iowa State
John Cullen vs. Kelechi Osemele
Osemele was a second all Big 12 performer for the Cyclones in 2009 and has 20 straight starts. He's a giant human being at 6'5" and 335 lbs and will be in the NFL eventually. Cullen hasn't had his best performances the past few weeks, possibly a product of wearing down over the course of a Division 1 season. Coming off of the bye week, he should be in top form.
Advantage: Iowa State
Caleb Schlauderaff vs. Alex Alvarez
Alvarez has played all over the line in his career at center, tackle, and now guard with 22 career starts. He'll challenge for all Big 12 honors this year. Schlauderaff continues to boost his profile as one of the best guards in the country. He's an animal in the run game and was opened up huge holes for the Utah running backs in their big game against San Jose State.
Zane Taylor vs. Ben Lamaak
Lamaak moved over from right guard to center this year to capitalize on his 37 career starts. He's a very solid player, but Zane Taylor is an elite center. Taylor looked back to full strength against San Jose State after injuring his knee against UNLV and missing the New Mexico game.
Tevita Stevens vs. Hayworth Hicks
Hicks is a giant at 6'6" 330 lbs, but is a little light on experience in his first year as a starter. Stevens is getting better every game and could be an All MWC player this year.
Tony Bergstrom vs. Brayden Burris
Burris has six career starts and is turning into a solid right tackle. At 6'6 290 lbs, he has the frame to add a lot more weight down the line, but is an above average pass blocker already. Bergstrom has been a rock for the Utes at right tackle and has kept Cain and Wynn clean all year. He'll do the same this week.
Junior Tui'one and Christian Cox vs. Patrick Neal and Rashawn Parker
Parker is a fifth year senior who received a medical hardship after a knee injury in 2009. He's been a starter since his freshman year and is a solid pass rusher. Neal is a second year starter who excels in stopping the run. Cox and Tui'one haven't had to play the entire game the past couple of weeks with the Utes holding big leads, but have been solid up to this point. The lack of sacks has to be a concern, but both have lived up to expecations overall so far.
Sealver Siliga and Dave Kruger vs. Stephen Ruempolhamer and Taylor Mansfield
Mansfield and Ruempolhamer are both undersized for the defensive tackle spot with Mansfield coming in at only 261 pounds. Neither has a ton of experience. Siliga and Kruger continue to dominate the opposing teams' offensive lines. They're very good.
Chad Manis, Matt Martinez, Chaz Walker vs Matt Morton, A.J. Klein, and Jake Knott
The Cyclones have a trio of sophomore linebackers without a ton of experience. Klein is the best of the bunch with a team leading 52 tackles, good for second in the Big 12. He already has two interceptions returned for touchdowns on the year. Morton is very undersized for a linebacker at 6'0" and only 207 pounds. He's a youngster who's a first year starter and still learning the ropes. Manis, Martinez, and Walker have to be considered the one of the best, if not the best, linebacking unit in the conference. They're getting better every single week.
Brandon Burton and Lamar Chapman vs. Ter'Ran Benton and Leonard Johnson
Johnson is a speedster with a nose for the ball. If he picks off a pass, it's likely going to be a pick six. Benton has 14 career starts who has started off and on since his freshman year. Burton and Chapman have established themselves as the premier cornerback tandem in the Mountain West while Burton looks to be an All American. They don't have an interception yet this season though. Will this be the week?
Justin Taplin-Ross and Brian Blechen vs. David Sims and Zach Sandvig or Michael O'Connell
Sims is a good one and a big hitter. He'll keep a few guys from going over the middle. Both Sandvig and O'Connell are experienced but neither has separated himself from the other. Outside of the linebackers, no other unit has been as surprising as the newcomers at the safety spots. Blechen has played like a veteran and Taplin-Ross has been delivering plenty of punishing hits.
Joe Phillips vs. Grant Mahoney
Mahoney has a big leg and is hitting on over 70% of his career kicks, but he's not Joe Phillips. Phillips hasn't had many opportunities to showcase his leg, but is perfect on the year.
Sean Sellwood vs Kirby Van Der Kamp
Sellwood is averaging 48.5 yards per punt, which would put him second in the nation in punt average, but hasn't punted enough to qualify. Van Der Kamp gets the award for the best/worst name in college football. He's averaging 40.3 yards per punt on the year.
Shaky Smithson vs. Shontrelle Johnson and Josh Lenz
Johnson is averaging almost 28 yards per kick return while Lenz is averaging only 6.6 yards per punt return. Shaky is still one the premier kick returners in the country with two punt return touchdowns and a few more that were close to being broken. He's averaging an astounding 21+ yards per punt return.
Totals- Utah 14 Iowa State 2 Even 1
Utah at Iowa State- Position breakdowns
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