Utah vs Washington State: Staff Picks

Our staff makes their predictions for the Pac 12 opener for Utah

James Cella- Football Analyst
Is Utah more talented than Washington State? Yes, but that's not the biggest question about this match up. It really comes down to one thing for me. Is Utah's defense better than Connor Halliday? The answer to that question will determine your winner on Saturday night. Without a doubt, WSU's offense is best squad Utah's defense has faced so far this season. The same can be said in reverse and Utah's secondary has really improved in every game with Justin Thomas being a huge difference maker in how Utah defends the pass. If Utah can pressure Halliday and capitalize on mistakes he will certainly make, it could be a long and cold night for Mike Leach and his Cougars. Utah's offense will have plenty of opportunities to put up point on Wazzu's porous defense, both on the ground and in the air. Look for Travis Wilson to have a huge game and for Utah to pound the ball with Booker and Poole, especially as the weather looks to be downright gloomy. In the end, everything is lined up for Utah to get the win and open the conference schedule with a 1-0 mark.
Utah 35 Washington State 21

Andrew Gorringe- Football Analyst
Halliday is a good QB that gets rid of the ball quickly, so that will negate some of Utah's pass rushing ability. I like Utah's chances to run on the Wazzu defense and think that's key for the offense. Wazzu is a much better team at home and is more likely to turn the ball over on the road. Utes will force 3 total turnovers, and Booker and Poole have big games on the ground. A late Wazzu TD makes the score closer than it actually is.
Utah 41 Washington State 31

Robert Jackson- Managing Editor
Defensively the Utes are in a better position to match up with the Cougs than a year ago, but expect Halliday to still put up some incredible numbers. Offensively the Utes have too much firepower, and I expect I much better performance, especially in the run game.
Utah 41 Washington State 31

Jayson Jones- Football Analyst
Utah is coming in with something we haven't seen the team have in months: confidence. It's a good, cautious, confidence that should carry the team at home past a struggling Wazzu squad that got deflated by Oregon last week. Washington State may come out and throw the ball a few times, but Rowe and Hatfield have looked better and better every game, and Justin Thomas has been playing well lately, too. Add in Brian Blechen who looks to be back on track, and Tevin Carter who is starting to get a knack for his position, and this Utah Secondary will be able to hold up against the passing attack of Halliday and Co. Game ball to Kalani Sitake.
Utah 38 Washington State 20.

Tom Karen- Editor
WSU 35 Utah 30 Utah may be 3-0 but they have yet to prove themselves against an opponent with a pulse. WSU brings their high-powered, prolific offense to Salt Lake City and will likely throw the ball 60+ times throughout the game. Can Utah's young, unproven DB's handle the challenge? I'm not convinced they can.
Washington State 35 Utah 30

Doug Kimmel- Rocky Mountain Recruiting Analyst
No reason to think the Utes stop rolling this week against a suspect Washington State team. After having their heart ripped out by Marcus Mariota on Saturday, the Cougars are 1-3 and deflated. Look for Booker and Poole to have a field day against a less than average defense. Halliday is dangerous, and after playing a few teams with below average offenses, Utah will be tested against the Air Raid. The secondary may get scorched a few times, but not enough to lose the game. Utes by close to 2 touchdowns.
Utah 41 Washington State 28

Brian Swinney- Publisher
Utah has an advantage in most areas in this game. The question though is whether or not they'll be able to slow down Halliday and the Wazzu passing game, because they won't stop them completely. Expect this to be a shootout with Wilson and Halliday going back and forth throughout, but a more balanced attack out of the Utes and a couple of timely sacks to stall Washington State drives will be the difference as Utah gets to 4-0.
Utah 45 Washington State 34

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