Utah QB and Wide Receivers vs Weber State Defensive Backs
Travis Wilson is coming off of his best game as a Ute, throwing for over 300 yards, along with 2 touchdowns and zero interceptions against a good Utah State defense. How is an FCS team that gave up 40 points last week to another FCS team going to stop him and his receiving corps? They won't.
Weber throws out two corners that stand 6-1, 160, and 5-10, 175. Not exactly imposing. Combine that with the fact they gave up 450 yards to Stephen F. Austin last week through the air, and Wilson could be putting up David Klingler numbers on Saturday, despite the loss of Kenneth Scott.
The emergence of Anthony Denham against USU was a long time coming. The beast of a receiver is going to have no problem using his significant size and strength advantage against the Wildcats, and could be poised for a big day. Sean Fitzgerald broke out in place of Scott last week and should be able to bring in another 5 balls. The receiver that really needs to be watched is Dres Anderson. There's not a player on Weber's roster that can come close to matching his speed. With such an advantage, Anderson should be able to go over 100 yards receiving on the day and be the recipient of some deep balls from Wilson.
While Utah advantage here is huge, the WSU DBs did pick off three passes last week, including one by junior safety DJ Bush. They're going to need tremendous safety play this week to shut down the Utah deep balls.
Utah Running Backs and Tight Ends vs Weber State Linebackers
Utah has many different ways for them to attack Weber from the running back spot. Power with Kelvin York and Karl Williams? Speed with James Poole, Lucky Radley, and some of the freshmen? No problem either way. The Utes should be able to run the ball consistently and with success against an undersized Wildcat front that employs only 2 linebackers in their 4-2-5. Both those linebackers? Only 230 pounds or less. York should get things going by pounding it up the middle, and when he needs a break, Poole will come in to race past Weber. No reason Utah can't go over 200 yards on the ground.
Weber State didn't see the tight end look against SFA last week, but they're going to get a healthy dose of it against Utah. Jake Murphy and Westlee Tonga are matchups nightmares for any defense, let alone the porous Weber D. If Murphy and Tonga don't combine for 8 balls, it will only be because they either weren't targeted or weren't needed.
Utah Offensive Line vs Weber State Defensive Line
The Utah line goes an average for 6-3 320 pounds. They big. Weber State is not as they roll in at an average of 6-2, 260 on the defensive line. The Utes should be able to push these guys around at will, opening up big holes for the running game and keeping Travis Wilson clean. Stephen F. Austin threw 62 passes last week. Weber State had zero sacks. If Travis Wilson goes down at any point, it will be a surprise.
The Utes will use this game to work out some of the kinks on the offensive line and give some of the younger guys like Hiva Lutui and Derek Tuimauga some valuable game reps.
Utah Defensive Line vs Weber State Offensive Line
Utah's defensive line was both stellar last week and yet weak. How can they be both of these at the same time? I'm not really sure, but they were. They did a fantastic job of containing Chuckie for the most part and didn't give up any big plays on the ground. Utah State only rushed for 189 yards as a team and no runner had over 100 yards. In the pass game, however, the Utes were weak and failed to consistently generate pressure. They were able to get to Keeton a few times, but overall the USU QB had way too much time to survey the field.
Weber State's offensive line is light to the tune of a 287-lb average across the front five, but they need to be light to run their up-tempo offense. Against Stephen F Austin the Wildcats dominated on the ground rushing the ball 46 times for 315 total yards and 4 touchdowns. They saw 3 different players rush for over 75 yards while running behind that small OL. The Wildcats start just two upperclassmen on the OL and no seniors. Their inexperience will be trouble against a tested Ute defensive front, so look for the Utes to be in the Wildcat backfield early and often.
Utah Linebackers vs Weber State Running Backs and Tight Ends
Utah's linebackers were better in game one than we saw in most of 2012. They weren't perfect, but the decision-making was noticeably better as was the quickness in the pass game. VJ Fehoko was a bit of a disappointment finishing with just 6 tackles while Jared Norris looked surprisingly good. We saw Quade Chappuis in a variety of formations and learned that he has been permanently moved to OLB, a move that will get more speed and experience on the field in a position that badly needs it. Brian Blechen's loss is one that will hurt but if Jacoby Hale continues to play the way he did against Utah State I doubt the Ute coaches will lose any sleep. Patience and discipline will be the name of the game for the Utah linebackers this week as the Wildcats will run a fast, no-huddle offense and will spread the ball around to a variety of backs and receivers.
Weber State's run game was undoubtedly their strength in their opening win. The Wildcats amassed 315 rushing yards and 4 rushing touchdowns and split the carries between four different backs. Zach Smith, Josh Booker, and Bo Bolen are three players to keep an eye on as they combined for 257 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. The Wildcat backs also get out and receive passes so the Ute linebackers will need to be ready to cover guys in space. Josh Booker is a guy who will get involved and has the potential to make guys miss so guys like Quade and Jacoby Hale will need to watch out for him in the flats.
At tight end, the Wildcats have two players that will likely rotate in but neither is likely to impact the game. Last week the Weber State TE's caught zero passes and probably won't have much more of a presence against the Utes.
Utah Defensive Backs vs Weber State QB and Wide Receivers
Undoubtedly the weakest part of the Ute defense in week 1 was the defensive backs. Thankfully they should have a much easier task this week against a soft Wildcat passing game that saw just 16 total receptions for 16 yards. Keith McGill now has a full game at CB under his belt and looks to improve upon his week 1 performance against the Wildcats. He was underwhelming against the Aggies but has an opportunity this week to refine his skill and prepare himself for Pac-12 play. The Utes need him and others to come along this week before they jump into conference play against Oregon State. Justin Thomas was another disappointing DB in his debut and was pulled at halftime against USU. He's still listed as a co-starter at nickel CB but he has been passed by Joseph Smith who had an impressive outing week 1. Overall McGill, Davion Orphey, Smith and Thomas shouldn't have trouble with this Wildcat passing attack.
There's no question who the leader of the Weber State receiving corps is – it's Erik Walker. His 7 receptions for 127 yards last week dwarfed the next closest Wildcat receiver, Zach Smith, who caught just 2 passes for 17 yards. Walker's big outing against SFA was a career day where he also added a 39-yard rushing TD and totaled 166 all-purpose yards in the contest. Walker is a 5'10" speedster who will line up in a variety of positions in order to create mismatches and maximize his potential for success. He is often used in the run game and will likely touch the ball between 10 and 20 times this weekend. Jordan Adamczyk will lead the Wildcats at QB. He was 14-29 passing for 118 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT against SFA with a long of just 27 yards. He isn't the most accurate QB and probably won't be a big threat to the inexperienced Utah DB's.
Unit Matchups: Utah vs Weber State
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