James Cella (Football Analyst)
Even though Utah won comfortably over Idaho State, there were plenty of areas needing improvement that Whittingham and his staff drove home this week. With that being said, it's clear that Utah has the horses to get a win over a Fresno team that's licking their wounds from an absolute thrashing by USC. Utah's run game should find success against the Bulldogs with strong performances from Booker and Poole, both of whom will factor heavily into the passing games. Dres Anderson will be the focus of Derron Smith and the Fresno secondary but it won't be enough as Dres has other weapons around him like Kenneth Scott, Kaelin Clay and Westlee Tonga that need just as much attention. Look for Dres to have a big game and perhaps Kaelin Clay has a few more tricks up his sleeve with a few end-arounds or a reverse or two.
On the defensive side, Coach Sitake will make the necessary adjustments needed to shore up the middle and attempt to close the gaping holes that were exploited by Idaho State a week ago. This game does provide Utah's secondary a chance to come out of their interception/takeaway funk as Fresno proved to be sloppy last week with 4 interceptions thrown between their two quarterbacks. I see this as being a close game for two or three quarters, but Utah pulls away in the end.
Fresno State 21
Andrew Gorringe (Football Analyst)
I like Utah's defense to step up after a sub-par performance in week one. Fresno's offensive line gave up a lot of pressure to USC so I expect another 4+ sack game for the Utah D. On offense, look for Dres to be doubled up by a corner and safety over top. Expect a lot of throws to Kenneth Scott and Westlee Tonga. Utah's rushing attack should also have a nice game as the Bulldogs gave up over 200 rushing yards to USC. I expect Devontae Booker to get his first 100+ yard rushing game as a Ute along with 2 TD's.
Fresno State 23
Jayson Jones (Football Analyst and NFL Liaison)
With all due respect to Idaho State, this weekend’s matchup against Fresno State will be the real opener for the Utes. Three things I’ll be watching for: 1-Dave Schramm facing his old boss Kyle Whittingham. Expect a few wrinkles and gimmicks by Coach Schramm to try to catch Utah’s D off guard. 2-Fresno State’s Secondary against the Utah WR corps. Utah will need to establish the run so Travis Wilson can pick his spots and take calculated shots down the field. 3-Utah’s front seven getting pressure. USC was excellent the entire game against the Bulldogs, but they were even better when they got after the passer and forced the Bulldog quarterback into a quick decision. The Utah front seven needs to help out the secondary by wreaking havoc in the backfield.
Fresno State 21
Doug Kimmel (Rocky Mountain Recruiting Analyst)
Utah will completely outplay Fresno State, but the game will end up being tighter than it should be. Fresno is going to look to exploit Utah up the gut as well as pick on Orphey and the Ute secondary. Utah will need to force 2+ turnovers to cruise to a victory here. Look for a heavy dosage of Booker & Poole.
Fresno State 28
Robert Jackson (Managing Editor)
The real season begins this week for the Utes. Under current Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter, the Bulldogs have never lost back-to-back games in a season and have won the game following a loss by an average of 31.7 points. Kalani Sitake's defense will welcome back CB Justin Thomas who, along with Dominique Hatfield, will help the Utes shore up their porous secondary. The defensive tackles are also a big concern as the Utes gave up over 100 yards rushing to lowly Idaho State. Luckily for Utah, I really like their offense and think they have the playmakers to put up some points this season. Close game through three quarters before the Utes open it up in the fourth.
Fresno State 24
Brian Swinney (Publisher)
I'm looking for Fresno State to come out with their hair on fire and take an early lead, putting the Utes in a hole and making them play on their heels. Travis Wilson and his band of merry receivers will bounce right back, however, and the high-scoring affair will be off to the races. Between some special teams plays that help the Utes win the battle of field position, as well as over 100 yards rushing from Devontae Booker, the Utes will take a late third quarter lead and wear down the Fresno D in the fourth quarter behind their trio of backs for a double-digit win.
Fresno State 35
Utah-Fresno State Game Predictions
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