Personnel Preview: Utah offense

A closer look at Utah's offensive starters and key reserves for Saturday's contest vs. the Irish.

Utah Skill Position Starters

The Utes feature a downhill, power running game led by the tandem of Matt Asiata and Eddie Wide. 16 separate Utah players have contributed touchdowns this season though the Wide/Asiata combo has combined for 18 of the team's 49 total TD to date.

Quarterback #3 Jordan Wynn – 6'1" 195-pound sophomore signal-caller has won 9 of 12 career starts including a 6-1 mark this season. Wynn has adapted well to the Utes quick passing scheme, suffering only four sacks while completing better than 65 percent of his passes. The sophomore has tossed 14 touchdowns vs. 8 interceptions and guided the ground-oriented Utah offense to 47 scores in 49 red zone opportunities over his two seasons at the helm (a 25-27 effort in 2010).

Wynn has notched two 300-yard passing efforts vs. BCS foes including a season-high 325-yard day vs. Iowa State in October and a career-best 338 yards vs. California in last year's Poinsettia Bowl victory by the Utes.

Running Back #4 Matt Asiata – 5'11" 230-pound bruiser leads the team with 110 carries and ranks second with 515 rushing yards (4.7 ypc). The senior ranks seventh in the Mountain West with seven touchdowns (six rushing) and fourth in Utah history with 22 career rushing scores.

Asiata barreled for Utah's only individual 100-yard rushing effort this season while also owning the second-best single game effort, a 95-yard day vs. Air Force on October 31. His 23 receptions ranks third on the squad.

Z Wide Receiver #11 Luke Matthews – The team's fourth target has totaled more than 200 receiving yards. At 6'1" 201pounds, Matthews has averaged 15.9 yards per catch in 2010 while securing two touchdowns. The sophomore (redshirt-junior) ranks as one of the team's strongest pound-for-pound players and is one game removed from his best stretch of the season: a 7-catch, 2-TD, 156-yard effort over three games vs. Wyoming, Colorado State and Air Force. Matthews was held without a catch in last week's loss to the nation's best defense in TCU.

X Wide Receiver #1 Shaky Smithson – The nation's best punt return weapon doubles as the Utes top deep threat, averaging 17.4 yards per catch on his 14 grabs through the first nine contests. The 5'11" 202-pound Smithson has secured three touchdown receptions but does the bulk of his damage in the return game, averaging an astounding 22.8 yards per punt return with two scores. Smithson has accumulated 926 combined kick/punt return yards while totaling more than 100 punt return yards in four separate contests this season.

H Wide Receiver #85 Jereme Brooks – Diminutive target leads Utah in receptions (4) while currently placing second in receiving yards (460) and touchdown catches (4). The 5'7" 170-pound senior has two career 100-yard games to his credit and caught a career-beset 75-yard touchdown strike this season vs. New Mexico - one of two opponents to find defensive success vs. Utah's rushing attack.

Brooks has caught 14 career touchdowns while scoring five more on rushing plays.

Tight End #81 Kendrick Moeai – The 6'5" 240-pound sophomore ranks eighth on the Utes with 9 catches for 153 receiving yards including three grabs for 76 yards over his last three contests. Moeai burst on the scene with two touchdown grabs in the Utes Poinsettia Bowl win last December over future Pac-10 foe California.

Key Reserves

Senior backup running back Eddie Wide leads the team with 9 touchdowns and 542 rushing yards. Wide was named 1st Team All-Conference in 2009, gaining 1,069 yards at 5.3 yards-per-carry. The team's best receiver, DeVonte Christopher, is also listed as a technical backup for Saturday's contest.

Running Back #36 Eddie Wide – Ranks sixth among Mountain West rushers as part of one of the nation's most productive rushing attacks. Wide averages just under 52 yards per game while the Utes grind out 176 per week on the ground. The 5'10" 190-pound senior has scored 21 career rushing touchdowns (fifth in program history) and leads Utah in rushing with 523 yards and 9 rushing scores heading into Saturday's matchup in South Bend.

Wide gained more than 1,000 yards on the ground last season en route to 1st Team All-Conference honors while topping the 100-yard mark on seven separate occasions. His 22 receptions ranks fourth on the squad and have totaled 199 yards with two scores.

Wide Receiver #10 DeVonte Christopher – The team's top producing receiver with 572 yards and five touchdown receptions, Christopher ranks third in the Mountain West with 71.5 receiving yards per game. The 6'1" 195 pound All-Conference candidate dominated Big East foe Pittsburgh in the season-opener, totaling 155 yards on eight receptions including a 61-yard touchdown grab.

Only a sophomore, Christopher ranks second behind Brooks with 32 receptions (despite missing one contest due to a sore knee) entering Saturday's matchup with the Irish.

Quarterback #7 Terrance Cain – The 5'11" 194-pound senior backup has guided the Utes to two victories this season (UNLV and New Mexico) and is 9-1 as a starter during his Utah career. Cain averaged 227 passing yards in his two starts while rushing for 73 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown.

Quarterback/Wildcat #12 Griff Robles – The 6'4" 230-pound redshirt-freshman has appeared in four games gaining 124 yards on 17 carries though missed on his only pass attempt of the season. Robles led Utah in rushing in relief of Wynn, carrying six times for 64 yards vs. New Mexico, a 56-14 Utes victory.

Running Back #22 Sausan Shakerin – Bruising 6'2" 222-pound sophomore has 105 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries after missing the first four contests due to a concussion. Purportedly the team's fastest running back with a 4.48 timed 40-yard dash.

Wide Receiver #14 Reggie Dunn – 6'0" 170-pound JC transfer from Compton has 11 touches for 115 yards from scrimmage with two touchdowns including a 43-yard sprint vs. San Jose State.

Utah Offensive Line

The Utes front wall has allowed just four quarterback sacks this season while paving the way for 5.2 yards per carry and 23 rushing scores.

Left Tackle #75 John Cullen – The 5th-year senior leads Utah with 15 cut blocks while adding six pancake blocks. 6'5" 285-pounder has appeared in 433 snaps over the team's eight officially graded contests.

Left Guard #72 Caleb Schlauderaff – Utah's best overall offensive lineman, the 6'4" 300-pound senior leads the Utes with an overall grade of 88 percent thanks to 16 pancake blocks and seven officially noted cuts. A pre-season second-team SI.com All-America selection, Schlauderaff is credited with "a win" in 383 of 436 total plays this season (not including the Air Force game in which grades have yet to be released). The senior's 95 percent grade vs. New Mexico is the best by a Utah offensive lineman this season (won 42 of 44 snaps according to the coaching staff). Schlauderaff scored a 94 percent grade in the team's win over Big 12 opponent Iowa State.

Center #77 Zane Taylor – A pre-season all-Mountain West selection, the 6'2" 309-pound Taylor has started eight games (he missed the win over New Mexico) without allowing a sack or committing an errant snap to date. Taylor leads the OL in snaps per game (56.8) and is credited with six cut blocks while ranking second on the squad with 9 pancake blocks. Taylor held the Utes best overall grade vs. Pittsburgh, Wyoming and TCU.

Right Guard #54 Tevita Stevens – Second among the O-Lineman with 441 total snaps. The 6'1" 290-pound Stevens has started nine games including one in relief of Taylor at center. His 12 cut blocks rank second on the squad and the sophomore has not allowed a sack while registering 7 pancake blocks through nine games.

Right Tackle #70 Tony Bergstrom – The team's biggest offensive lineman at 6'6" 310 pounds, Bergstrom has 10 cut blocks and two pancakes while not allowing a sack through nine games. He leads the Utes with 445 snaps and has registered an 82 percent grade through the first eight graded contests.


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