An intrastate rivalry game takes center stage on Friday night as the Utah Utes travel all the way to Utah State to play the Aggies. Utah, of course, is embarking on its 2nd season in the Pac-12, while Utah State calls the WAC home. But will the Utes be able to throw around their big conference muscle, or will the Aggies play tough on their home turf?
Kyle Whittingham is still the head man in charge here for the Utah Utes. Last year, the Utes finished 8-5, a respectable showing, although it included a losing record within their new Pac-12 confines, as they went 4-5 in conference, and then beat up on their out of conference opponents. Most impressively though was their big bowl game win over Georgia Tech. All told, they finished 2011 winning five of their final six games after a slow start.
Both of these teams got off on the right foot in week 1 of the season. Utah obliterated Northern Colorado, winning 41-0 to begin their 2012 campaign. Starting quarterback Jordan Wynn passed for 200 yards and two touchdowns, and had a nice game.
But the spotlight may have been stolen by freshman part-timer Travis Wilson, who was 2 for 2 on pass attempts, but scored 2 touchdowns on 7 rushing attempts. The kid is massive at 6 foot 6 and at least 220 lbs, and he has a lot of people in Utah very excited about the tandem the Utes will have at the position for the season.
Utah State meanwhile played another Utah school, Southern Utah, and cruised to their own big victory, 34-3. Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton passed for 304 yards and completed 22 of 25 passes, and running back Joe Hill notched 116 yards on the ground and three touchdowns on just 11 touches.
Utah isn’t their only tough opponent on the season. In the very next weekend, they take on number 13 Wisconsin, a potential national title threat in the minds of some. That’s a very demanding and tough back to back load for the Aggies, so we’ll see how they hold up.
Of course, each team is in with a much tougher opponent this weekend than they were last weekend. Still, Utah is undoubtedly the favorite in this game. Taking a look at the official numbers, the Utes are projected as 7.5 point road favorites in this match. The over/under for the combined points for the game is 52.5.
Taking Utah to win the game is a no brainer. And they’ll need to get wins like this too, as they battle for position in the Pac-12 and continue to get adjusted to their new lives there. Take Utah to win and to cover, and take the over and the combined points total, as each team should be able to find the end zone with relative ease. The first true test for the Utes will come in October, when they get to meet USC.