When Utah Has the Ball
Run, run, run. I think we say that every game. BYU hasn't been great against the run on the year getting lit up by teams like Florida State, Nevada, Utah State, , though things have been better since Bronco Mendenhall took over the defense. Jordan Wynn is going to try to pick apart the Cougars over the middle with slants to Jereme Brooks and DeVonte Christopher, before throwing a few deep balls the keep the corners and safeties on their toes.
Matt Asiata and Eddie Wide should be able to put up decent yardage against the linebacking corps of BYU. They're slow and don't have a lot of athleticism. Expect the Utah offensive line and running backs to keep them on their heels.
BYU is much improved defensively from the beginning of the season, but just don't have the athletes to slow down a Utah offense that looked very good last week.
When BYU Has the Ball
BYU has been much more effective on the offensive side of the ball in recent weeks with a nice mix of run and pass. Earlier in the season was all run as Jake Heaps got his feet wet and was learning the offense. He's been much better in the past few games and is showing the promise and hype that was thrown his way before ever arriving on campus.
The Cougars need to come out throwing, trying to move the ball through the air to open up the running game. Without a very effective passing game, the running game just won't work against a Utah defense that has been more than stout against the run on the year.
Utah is going to come out blitzing against the freshman Heaps, trying to force mistakes and get him out of his comfort zone. Expect Brandon Burton to be in the backfield often in the early going trying to get to Heaps.
It really comes down to this: BYU has to be able to throw the ball effectively or they won't win the game. Utah's defensive line and linebackers are too good in run support for BYU tp be able to move the ball on them consistently using only the run. Shut down Heaps and the receivers and this one is over.
BYU's special teams are pretty average. Theey do have good kickers, but the return duo of Hoffman and Falslev aren't going to scare anyone. Despite recent struggles in the return game, the Utes bring one of the top special teams units in the country. Your not going to find a foursome at the return and kicking spots that are better than Smithson, Dunn, Phillips, and Sellwood.
These two coaching staffs are very similar with a few of the Utah coaches having played at BYU. Whittingham and Mendenhall are no nonsense types of guys who expect and demand a lot out of their coaches and players. They're two of the top 15 coaches in the country.
Robert Anae was under a lot of scrutiny early in the year as the offense struggled, but has turned in around. Aaron Roderick is a rising star in the coaching world and called a great game last week against SDSU.
Kalani Sitake is the ultimate in game adjustment defensive coordinator. He'll throw a lot of schemes at the young Heaps and rotate in multiple players to keep the looks fresh. Bronco Mendenhall handles the defense for BYU.
BYU has won three of the last four in the series (all close games), while the Utes blew out the Cougs back in 2008 on their way to an undefeated season.
Utah had won 21 straight home games until they ran into the buzz saw that was TCU. They'll look to start a new streak on Saturday.
On paper this game can't be close, can it? The Utes have advantages at almost very position on the field and have the home field advantage. Kalani SItake is going to throw a lot of blitzes at Heaps early, with Lamar Chapman being the main culprit, as they try to rattle the freshman, and it will work as an early Heaps pick leads to a short Utah field and a Matt Asiata touchdown. The Utes keep the pressure up on Wynn, allowing the BYU running game to get a few yards, but not put together a consistent drive that turns into points. Meanwhile, Jordan Wynn and Jereme Brooks hook up early and often as Wynn hits Brooks for a long touchdown to open the second quarter and give the Utes a 14-0 lead. Each team adds a field goal before the half to make it 17-3 with BYU's offense unable to get anything going. Shaky Smithson opens the second half by taking the kickoff back for a touchdown, breaking the backs of the Cougars for a 24-3 lead. The Utes stretch the lead to 27-3 before Heaps hits McKay Jacobson for a touchdown late in the third quarter. A Jordan Wynn interception leads to a J.J. Di Luigi scoring run cutting the lead to 27-17 with under 10 minutes to go. The Utes take the ball hand it to Matt Asiata and Eddie Wide over and over, draining the clock, before Wide breaks one from 20 yards out to give Utah the final points of the game and solidify the victory.
Utah 34 BYU 17
Game Preview: Utah vs BYU
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