I know we’ve said this before, but this week will most definitely be the biggest test of the season for the University of Utah, as they travel to the Valley of the Sun for a meeting with #15 Arizona State. Todd Graham’s team has been a match up problem for Utah the last 2 years, including Utah’s worst beat down as members of the Pac 12 37-7 at Sun Devil Stadium and it wasn’t even that close. The all time series belongs to Sparky too at a 19-6 advantage.
I like Utah’s chances much much more this season in Tempe than 2 years ago and even more so than a year ago at Rice Eccles Stadium. There are a few reasons:
1. Utah’s overall athleticism is better across the board. Arizona State’s pace, tempo and athletes have given Utah trouble in the last three seasons. This year Utah’s Defensive Unit is one of the best in the Pac 12 and it’s team speed will match up well with Arizona State’s up tempo offense.
2. Arizona State is awful against the run. The Sun Devil’s rank 11th in the Pac 12 and 86th in the NCAA yielding 180 yards per game, while Utah rushes for 200 yards per game. Even though ASU has been better as of late, I still believe that a steady diet of Devontae will be a big part of the Utes game plan on Saturday night.
3. Who’s playing QB for the Sun Devils on Saturday? ASU has 2 very good Quarterbacks in Taylor Kelly and Mike Bercovici. However, there is some question over who will play. Kelly started the season, then missed several games because of injury. Bercovici has filled in nicely throwing 10 touchdown passes. Kelly played against Washington and put up solid not spectacular numbers before going out late in the game due to injury. Todd Graham will have a decision on who gives him the best chance to compete and beat Utah.
Even with 5 games remaining and a tough slate for both squads this game could go a long way to deciding who will represent the Pac 12 South at Levi’s Stadium in early December at the Pac 12 Championship Game.
I’ll have my game keys a little later this week. Kickoff Saturday night from Tempe is 9:00 with pregame coverage starting at 5pm on ESPN 700.
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