by Scott Funk (@scottfunk0)
Salt Lake City – The Holy War is ready to gain another chapter. This time the Utes (1-0,0-0) will go for number seven in-a-row as they travel down to Provo to face BYU (1-1) on Saturday night.
Players to Watch For:
Utah – The entire front seven, Darren Carrington II
The Utes are coming off an impressive outing from their first game against North Dakota. They shutdown John Santiago, who is arguably one of the best running backs in the FCS, holding him to just 24 yards throughout the game and holding ND to 55 total rushing yards. This week the Utes face a BYU team that had -5 rushing yards in their last outing against LSU. After the ND game, head coach Kyle Whittingham stressed that his defense needs to do better with getting in the backfield, after recording just one sack. With their coach in their ear, the depth that they have, and the intensity from the rivalry; expect the front seven for the Utes to come out aggressive, be in the backfield and a brick wall at the line.
Carrington is coming off a career high game with 10 receptions for 127 yards and one touchdown. He proved all the talk about him in his first game, and expect him to keep going out and putting on a show. This week he faces a defense that has given up 159 passing ypg and 190 rushing ypg. Carrington will be the difference maker in this game. If the Cougars defense focuses on shutting down the pass game and shutting down Carrington, the field will open-up for running back Zach Moss and duel threat QB, Tyler Huntley. If they put more in the box to shut down the Utes run game, the field will open up plenty of space for Carrington to get open. For the first time in a long time, it’s a pick-your-poison game for the Cougars – with Carrington being the main factor.
BYU – Tanner Mangum
Mangum is the key for BYU. If he’s off, the game won’t be close. If he’s on, they have a chance to beat anyone. We saw that in the Vegas Bowl two years ago when they started the game with five turnovers behind a rattled Tanner Mangum. Once he refocused and got control of the game, they rallied back and came up just short of completing the victory, falling to the Utes 35-28. BYU needs their QB to show up to this game, otherwise expect this game to be similar to the one in 2011 when the Utes beat up on BYU 54-10 in LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Utah leads the series with an overall record of 59-34-4 including the last six, and 11 of the last 14. Coach Whittingham has a record of 8-3 against his alma mater as the head coach of the Utes. When the game is played in Provo, the Utes have a 19-17-1 overall record. The Utes also have a 4-1 record against BYU in September.
Although the preparation for the game doesn’t change – and after playing in it and coaching it – coach Whittingham knows this game isn’t like the others.
“This game is different,” said Whittingham. “It doesn’t matter what happened regardless of the past. This game brings out the best in both teams.”
After game one for the Utes we had most of our questions answered that we had during the off-season. We got a good look at the offense, and found out that Tyler Huntley is the right choice to lead this offense. But now the Utes will face a tougher competition, and we have another opportunity to see more of what this new offense has to offer before the start of Pac-12 play.
In his debut as a starting QB, Huntley went for 227 yards and one TD. He also rushed for 70 yards and a TD. After the game last week, he was asked about the rivalry game this week. His response was short and to the point.
“We’re gonna go down there and handle our business.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. MDT at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo. The game will be televised on ESPN2 and can be heard on ESPN 700.
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