It’s rivalry week and anything can happen when Utah and BYU hook up. Outside of the 54-10 game back in 2011, it’s been closer than two polar bears in a sleeping bag on a cold night.
The Utes are more talented and deeper, but BYU has more experience at the key positions of quarterback and running back. Utah’s offense line will be markedly better. Why? Because Kyle Whittingham teams don’t have poor performances in back to back weeks in areas of strength. The defense will do its job well enough to keep the explosive BYU backfield somewhat in check. The Utes have the advantage in almost evert single area on the field along with a coaching staff that has been here before.
The biggest difference between these two teams may be the one thing no one is talking about; special teams. Mitch Wishnowsky looked like Tom Hackett on steroids in week 1, Andy Phillips is still a clutch kicker, the short kickoff problem has been solved with Hayes Hicken, Boobie Hoobs is a threat every time he touches it on a punt return, and the Utes have a couple of young burners to bring out the ball on kickoffs. Johnny Linehan kicked it into the end zone three times last week on six punts, the Cougs don’t know who their kicker is going to be, their return game is far from frightening, and their long snapper has a tattoo of a long snapper that looks like an alien with hemorrhoids that’s been on a 3 week bender.
Comparable offenses, a better defense, better special teams, and home field advantage and this one shouldn’t be that close. But, it will be. Just not as close as BYU wants it as the Utes pull away in the 4th quarter and extend the winning streak to six.
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