Utah Running Game - This is strength against strength, as Utah running back Brandon Warfield gets his chance to go up against another top shelf rushing defense in the Aztecs. No team has shut down Warfield completely this year, and don't look for the Aztecs to do so either. The most important battle for the Aztecs to win will be stopping Warfield on third down and short as well as in the red zone. Even.
Utah Passing Game - Utah quarterback is coming off of a 340 yard, two touchdown performance against Oregon. The Ducks' secondary, however, has not been as effective going all the way back to the beginning of last season as the Aztecs. Smith will be challenged early and often by the "dark side" defense, spearheaded by All-American linebacker candidate Kirk Morrison, bringing pressure all game long. Look for the Aztecs secondary to gamble a bit, especially big-play cornerback Jeff Shoate.
For Utah to be successful in the passing game a balance must be struck early on. Paris Warren will get a lot of attention from the Aztecs, but opposite Warren the Aztecs will have to respect the speed of Steve Savoy. He torched the Ducks and that will be a concern for the San Diego State defensive coaching staff. Tight end Ben Moa needs to be utilized like he was in the Oregon game as well. He will receive one-on-one coverage on almost every play because of the spread offense limiting what the Aztecs can do defensively.Utah
San Diego State Running Game - The Aztec running game is led by freshman tailback Lynell Hamilton. The talented freshman will not likely see a better interior duo of defensive tackles than Sione Pouha and Steve Fifita this year. If the Aztecs cannot at least neutralize the "big fellas" on the interior it will be a long day for the Aztec offense.
Don't be surprised if the Aztecs try and run some trickery out of their running game, with a reverse or two, and possibly a flea-flicker or something of that nature.Utah
San Diego State Passing Game - Adam Hall is a talented performer and fits the system employed by the Aztecs very well. It does not hurt that wide receiver Jeff Webb is one of the nation's best and a future NFL player.
What could hurt the Aztecs is a possible lack of balance in the receiver core, enabling the Utes to give extra attention to Webb and put more pressure on Hall with blitzes. Still, the Aztecs should get some big plays against a defense that has given up on average 243 yards per game through the air. Wide receiver Jermaine Moore needs to have a good game to compliment Webb after only hauling in two receptions for 24 yards last week against BYU. San Diego State
Intangibles - Utah is riding a high that could come crashing down if they take the Aztecs lightly even for a single play. The Aztecs will be hungry after last weeks defeat against the Cougars. The home field should help the Utes as a big crowd is expected. Even
Utah 28 San Diego State 20