Utah Quarterback and Wide Receivers vs Arizona Defensive Backs
Which Travis Wilson are we going to see? The one that is 2-0 at home, and is completing 73% of his passes. Or the one that is 0-3 on the road, completing only 54% of his passes after a dreadful day at Washington last week.
The Utah wide receivers were absent last week. Wilson didn't have anyone to throw to, completing only balls to his wideouts. They've been up and down throughout the year, and Utah will need guys like Kenneth Scott, Devonte Christopher, and Dres Anderson to step up. They'll have an advantage over the weak Arizona secondary and anything less than 200 yards through the air will be disappointing.
Want to watch a cornerback take a beating? Watch Shaq Richardson. The junior gets beat time and time again by receivers on deep balls. The rest of his group isn't very strong either as they're giving up over 304 yards per game. There is a lot of youth in that secondary, and Utah will test it.
Utah Running Backs and Tight Ends vs Arizona Linebackers
The John White 100 yards or more streak is over with the loss at Washington. If Kelvin York is ready to go this week, Utah will get a much needed boost. Outside of White, they're lacking consistent offensive firepower, and York is the second most explosive offensive player for Utah. The running game will get going for Utah, but will need to go over 150 yards to keep the Arizona offense off the field and to give the Utes a chance.
The Utah tight ends disappeared last week, and need to re-emerge. They've been targeted more in home games for some reason. With the Utes at home, maybe they'll get more balls. Jake Murphy needs to be a big part of the passing game for the Utes to be successful.
Arizona isn't stopping many people on the ground. 187 yards per game out of opponents so far on the year, and Utah will try to exploit that.
Marquise Flowers is the Wildcats' best player on defense. The junior linebacker is second on the team in tackles, leads the team in sacks with 5.5, and has 11 tackles for loss. Middle linebacker Jake Fisher leads the team with 90 tackles.
Utah Offensive Line vs Arizona Defensive Line
The Arizona defensive line isn't very big. Their 3-4 has a 271 pound nose tackle, and 2 ends that average 259 pounds. The Utah offensive line needs to be able to push them around.
Arizona has only 15 sacks on the year, with most of those coming out of their linebackers and haven't done much to slow the run game either. Expect Utah to have one of their better games against a bad Wildcat defensive line.
Arizona Quarterback and Wide Receivers vs Utah Defensive Backs
Will Matt Scott play, or won't he? Scott might be the best QB in the conference (yes, even better in the college game right now than Barkley, Mariotta, Hundley, and Price).
If it's backup BJ Denker, advantage Utah. He's a 6-3, 177 pound junior who moves well, but isn't Scott. Unfortunately for the Utes, Matt Scott is listed as probable, and if he does play, presents a big problem for Utah both in the passing game and the run game. Scott has put up video game numbers with 316 yards per game through the air. His biggest threat to Utah may be on the ground though. Utah has struggled containing mobile QBs, and Scott is a very good runner.
The corners struggled last week at times, and they'll have their hands full with the Arizona receivers, especially Austin Hill. Hill is a beast. At 6-3, 211 pounds, he's been very produtive in 2012 with 62 catches for 1,023 yards and 7 touchdowns. Dan Bucker is another receiver with great size at 6-4, 215 pounds. He's hauled in 57 balls and 5 TDs and present another matchup problem for Utah.
The Utah safeties are going to need to be better than they were last week, and better than they have been all season. Brian Blechen and Eric Rowe continue to be a step slow. If they aren't at the top of their game, Scott and the Arizona wide receivers will beat them time and time again.
Arizona Running Backs and Tight Ends vs Utah Linebackers
Ka'deem Carey is pretty good. Second in the nation in rushing after setting the Pac 12 single game rushing record last week against Colorado (although all records set against Colorado should come with an asterisk), Carey is putting up 138 yards per game and has 18 touchdowns. At 5-10, 197, he runs well between the tackles, but has speed to burn. The sophomore isn't too bad in the passing game either with 30 catches.
Will we see the home Ute linebackers, or the away Ute linebackers? Against inferior opponents at Rice-Eccles, they've been good. Against anyone else, there have been problems.
With a mobile QB and an elite running back, the Utah backers need to play sound football, and stay in their lanes. I'm not 100% convinced that they will.
Arizona Offensive Line vs Utah Defensive Line
The Arizona offensive line is pretty good for being as beat up and undersized as they are. Only one guy is over 300 pounds, but they move down the field fairly well. Center Kyle Quinn is the best of the bunch with 38 career starts.
Star and company need to win the battle at the line. If they're not getting a strong push back against Arizona, the Ute defense is going to struggle. Star will be Star, but the Kruger boys, and Nate Fakahafua need to be active and disruptive. I'm thinking they will be.
Unit Matchups: Utah vs Arizona
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