The Utah offense and BYU defense will hook up on Saturday night

Breaking down the matchups between the Utah offense and the BYU defensive

Utah Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers vs BYU Secondary

Utah has found the quarterback that can take them to the next level. Troy Williams wasn't great, but he was good in his Utes debut against Southern Utah in going 20 of 35 for 272 yards and 2 touchdowns. The JC transfer showed poise, confidence, and great feel in the pocket with his ability to make throws under duress. Williams also showed off some wheels in scrambling to extend plays and picking up 15 yards. Tim Patrick looked like a high-level Pac 12 receiver in week 1 with over 100 yards and receiving, including a deep ball for a touchdown. He's going to be option number 1 for Williams. Kyle Fulks wasn't used much last week and the Utes will need to find a way to get his ball in the hands more, while Tyrone Smith was his steady self. The Utes go deep with their receiving corps with guys like Kenric Young, Raelon Singleton, and maybe even Caleb Repp this week able to make an impact.

BYU rolls out a decent secondary on Saturday against the Utes, but does lack ideal athleticism. Kai Nacua can play and is a big-time playmaker at the safety spot who had 6 interceptions last season and Micah Hannemann is solid next time him at safety. Corner Michael Davis has very good size and plenty of experience, but true freshman Troy Warner could be a liability against the Utes as he continues to get his feet underneath himself. Their overall size is good, but they'll be going against an accurate QB in Williams on Saturday and will need to be on point. 

Edge: Even

Utah Running Backs and Tight Ends vs BYU Linebackers

We may have a running back situation after Joe Williams went for only 49 yards on 12 carries against Southern Utah. He looked slow and tentative in carrying the ball against a team that shouldn't have been able to slow him that much. Troy McCormick could be in line to grab some of those reps from Williams this week after putting up 55 yards on 12 carries, but doing so in an impressive fashion while making multiple defenders miss, and nearly breaking a few runs. McCormick also chipped in another 55 yards on 3 catches showing off his diversity. Look for Armand Shyne to get some run in short yardage situations. Harrison Handley and Evan Moeia combined for 1 catch in week 1, but their size could pose some problems for the BYU linebackers as safety outlets and if Troy Williams can find the middle of the field a bit more (something he struggled with a bit in week 1).

Sophomore Butch Paua had the game of his life last week against Arizona with 9 tackles, a sack, and 2.5 tackles for loss. The little backer was all over the field laying big hits, but could run into trouble with Utah's bigger tight ends should he be forced to pick them up in coverage. Francis Bernard has made the transition from running back to linebacker and looks the part already with 4 tackles and a sack. The big name though is Fred Warner, who is one of the best athletes on the team. At 6-4, 230 pounds, he's all over the field and a versatile backer that posted 4 tackle and 1.5 tackles for loss in week 1.

Edge: Even

Utah Offensive Line vs BYU Defensive Line

Which offensive line are we going to see for the Utes? The one that looked uber-talented, big, strong, and physical in the fall, or the one that committed 4 false starts and was dominated by Southern Utah. JJ Dielman has to do a better job with the snaps, Garrett Bolles has to figure out his pass blocking, and the guards need to clean up their sloppiness. The running lanes have to open up and Troy Williams need to be under less pressure. Big strides this week are a must.

BYU's defensive line put up a pretty impressive performance against Arizona in helping keep a high flying offense in check. Tomase Laulile, Merrill Taliauli should anchor one side of the line with Logan Taele anchoring the inside and former Ute Harvey Langi coming off the edge after making the position switch from linebacker. It's not a world-beater line, but they're still pretty good when healthy.

Edge: Utah

Ute Zone Top Stories