Utah vs Boise State- Position Battles

Who has the edge at each position? InsideTheUtes breaks it all down...

The matchups:

Terrance Cain vs Kellen Moore
Jordan Wynn is out with an injury and in comes Terrance Cain for his final hurrah as a Ute. Cain is 9-1 as a starter in his career and has been efficient in place of Wynn in his two starts this year. His last outing against BYU was ugly though with two picks in limited action. Moore was a Heisman Trophy Finalist and one of the top QBs in the country over the the last three years. He'll be back for a fourth year and is going to hold almost every Boise State passing record by the time he's done. Ask every coach in the country which quarterback he wants leading his team in the final two minutes of the game and the answer you're going to get most often isn't Andrew Luck or Cam Newton…It's Kellen Moore.
Advantage: Boise State

Running Back/Fullback
Matt Asiata, Eddie Wide, and Shawn Asiata vs. Doug Martin, Jeremy Avery, and Don Paul
Martin put up big numbers in garnering All-WAC 1st team honors with over 1,100 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. He also pitched in 27 catches. The speedster Avery's production dropped off from over 1,000 yards in 2009 to under 500 in 2010, but he still manages to score a career best 11 touchdowns while providing the big play ability. Asiata and Wide had decent seasons, but splitting carries led to overall disappointing numbers for both. Neither eclipsed 700 yards rushing with Asiata's 109 yards against Wyoming being the only 100 yard effort out of either player. Both were very effective catching the ball out of the backfield this year though combining for 62 catches (31 apiece).
Advantage: Even

Wide Receiver
Jereme Brooks , Luke Matthews, Shaky Smithson and DeVonte Christopher vs. Austin Pettis, Titus Young, Tyler Shoemaker,
Pettis and Young might be the best receiving duo in the country. Young has 65 catches and over 1,100 yards while Pettis put up 59 catches for over 800 yards. Throw in the combined 18 touchdowns and they're hard to stop. Shoemaker was the big play guy averaging 18 yards per catch with four scores. The Utah receivers were very good this year, but didn't have any standouts. Jereme Brooks got off to a good start, but tailed off down the stretch. DeVonte Christopher was huge in some games, but disappeared in others. Shaky was consistent and good for his three catches a game, while Matthews is still a year away from being an impact player.
Advantage: Boise State

Tight End
Kendrick Moeia vs. Kyle Efaw
Efaw had 23 catches and 5 touchdowns on the season while Moeia had 11 catches with an astounding 20.5 yards per catch. He may have made the playoff the year for the Utes with his hail mary touchdown catch at the end of the first half against San Diego State.
Advantage: Boise State

Left Tackle
Sam Brenner vs. Nate Potter
Potter was a first team All WAC left tackle and kept Kellen Moore clean all season. He's a big kid with a huge upside and will be in the NFL eventually. Brenner is making his first career start in place of the injured John Cullen. He's in for a rude awakening.
Advantage: Boise State

Left Guard
Caleb Schlauderaff vs. Joe Kellogg
Kellogg is a youngster in his first year as a starter who has a bright future, but he's not Caleb Schlauderaff. Schlauderaff had a great year and was recognized as an All American by some publications. He'll go down as one of the great Utah linemen ever. An absolute beast of a run blocker.
Advantage: Utah

Zane Taylor vs. Thomas Byrd
The junior Byrd has been starting since his freshman year and has been a big part of the Boise success over the past three years as the anchor in the middle of the line. He's not the biggest kid out there, but is a very good run blocker, which helped garner him an All Conference nod. Taylor had an All Conference and All American type of year. He's one of the top centers in the country and, like Schlauderaff, will go down as one of the best Utah linemen ever.
Advantage: Utah

Right Guard
Tevita Stevens vs. Will Lawrence
Lawrence is a solid right guard and helped pave the way for Martin's big year. Stevens had a great year and will likely move over to the center position in 2011 for the departed Zane Taylor. He's going to be an All American by the time he's done. A great run blocker who gets downfield well as anyone on the line.
Advantage: Even

Right Tackle
Tony Bergstrom vs. Matt Slater
Slater's not the biggest lineman at under 270 lbs. He's a good pass blocker, but not a great run blocker, a big reason why the Broncos don't run to the right often. Bergstrom picked up second team All MWC honors on his way to another great season.
Advantage: Utah

Defensive Ends
Junior Tui'one, Christian Cox, and Derrick Shelby vs. Ryan Winterswyk, Shea McClellin
The Boise State defensive ends were both first team All WAC. McClellin was an animal with 8.5 sacks on the year, while Winterswyk threw in 2.5 sacks and 7 tackles for loss. Cox earned himself a first team All MWC nod, mostly on the strength of his tremendous run stopping abilities. Tui'one and Shelby both battled injuries during the year and never really got into a groove rushing the passer.
Advantage: Boise State

Defensive Tackle
Sealver Siliga, Star Lotulelei, and Dave Kruger vs. Chase Baker and Billy Winn
Wynn and Baker were both productive pitching in 8.5 sacks combined, while also helping slow the running game and holding opponents to just over 100 yards per game on the ground. Sealver Siliga was robbed of a place on the All MWC team and was arguably Utah's best defender this year. Kruger didn't have the year many anticipated after a stellar freshman season, but was still pretty solid. Lotulelei is a man child and a revelation for the Utes strengthening an already stellar defensive line. Advantage: Utah

Chad Manis, Matt Martinez, Chaz Walker vs. Aaron Tevis, J.C. Percy, and Derrell Ackrey
Not a lot of standouts in the Boise linebacking group, but they are 6th in the country against the run. Percy was second on the team with 63 tackles, while Tevis had 39.The Utah linebackers come in healthy for the first time since the middle of the season. Walker had a breakout year and Martinez was a solid contributor, but the MVP of the group turned out to be Manis, the former QB. He missed the two losses, and his impact on the team turned out to be much bigger than initially thought. This is a solid, workmanlike group that gets the most out of their abilities, but they're nothing special.
Advantage: Even

Brandon Burton and Lamar Chapman vs. Brandon Thompson and Jamar Taylor
Thompson was a second team All WAC selection with three interceptions and 10 pass breakups. Taylor is a sophomore with a big upside who had 3.5 tackles for loss on the year. Burton was the best corner in the Mountain West this year. The fact that he wasn't a first team All Conference player was a huge mistake. Chapman had a great year blitzing off of the edge and will be used to get pressure on Moore often.
Advantage: Even

Justin Taplin-Ross and Brian Blechen vs. George Iloka, Winston Venable, and Jeron Johnson
Johnson led the team in tackles and was named first team All WAC. He's the leader of the defense. Iloka is another first team All Conference safety who was third on the team in sacks and picked off two passes. Venable is a safety in a linebackers body. The senior is a big hitter who had 4.5 sacks on the year. Brian Blechen was a huge surprise for Utah coming in as a true freshman and taking over a starting spot. He was a big play machine with interceptions and fumble recoveries late in games. Picked up freshman All American honors from multiple publications. Taplin-Ross may not have received the pub that Blechen did, but on a week to week basis, was the more consistent player.
Advantage: Boise State

Joe Phillips vs. Kyle Brotzman
Brotzman will forever go down in Bronco history as the kicker that missed two late kicks late in the game against Nevada that cost Boise a perfect season and another BCS bowl bid. Still went 14 for 20 on the year though. Phillips didn't have a ton of opportunities, but made the most of them missing only one kick in 2010.
Advantage: Utah

Joe Phillips vs Kyle Brotzman
The kickers are doing double duty as punters, where this time Brotzman gets the edge with his 43+ yards per punt over Phillips who is filling in for Sean Sellwood.
Advantage: Boise State

Kick/Punt Returner
Shaky Smithson and Reggie Dunn vs. Chris Potter and Titus Young
Potter averaged a very respectable 13.2 yards per punt return with a touchdown, but he's not Shaky Smithson, who was everyone's All American in leading the country with just under 20 yards per return. Shaky took two back for touchdowns and was tackled at the two yard line on another return. Young was very good with almost 24 yards per return, while the Ute duo of Smithson and Dunn put up similar numbers.
Advantage: Utah

Totals- Utah 6 Boise State 7 State Even 5

Ute Zone Top Stories