Utah Offense Will Face First Highly Touted Defense In Mouthwatering Contest

Sep 18, 2019, 10:14 AM
Credit: Ravell Call / Deseret News...
Credit: Ravell Call / Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah football team is ranked #10 in the latest AP Poll. The expectations are high and have been since the likes of Leki Fotu, Bradlee Anae, Zack Moss and Julian Blackmon announced that they would return for their senior years’. Thus far Utah has not been tested.

They have played one away game against Brigham Young University and two home games against Northern Illinois University and Idaho State. The first big test comes this Friday against the struggling USC Trojans in a venue that Utah has not won in for 103 years.

The Trojans are on their heels coming off a 30-27 loss to BYU. Things are about to get harder with Utah coming into town.


The Trojans could easily be 2-4 in three weeks time. True Freshman Kedon Slovis has taken over following JT Daniels’ season-ending knee injury and has made some true freshman mistakes, as expected.

In his two career starts against Stanford and BYU, Slovis has thrown for 715 yards, 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. At times he looks like the next Matt Leinart or Matt Barkley, but then he has moments where he looks more reminiscent of Mark Sanchez following the infamous “butt fumble”.

Okay, maybe not that bad.

USC’s Weapons

The strength of this USC team is their wide receivers. A group that has multiple NFL caliber athletes.

Michael Pittman Jr. stands at 6’4 and 220 pounds. He has caught 21 balls for 205 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tyler Vaughns has 23 receptions for 321 yards and 1 touchdown while standing at 6’2 and weighing 190 pounds. Amon-Ra St. Brown has 14 receptions for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns – clocking in at 6’1 and 195 pounds.

The three have combined for 58 receptions, 665 yards and 5 touchdowns.

The entire Utah receiving core has 48 receptions for 640 yards and 4 touchdowns. Utah has had 13 players catch at least 1 or more pass.

However, USC has attempted 109 passes while Utah has only attempted 61. Tyler Huntley has a 78 percent completion percentage while Slovis is going at 77 percent.

Huntley has yet to be sacked and has not thrown an interception while Slovis has thrown 4 picks and been sacked 3 times for -17 yards.

The battle will be fascinating. The stout Utah defense will have its hands full and will be tested for the first time this season going up against the new and dynamic air raid offense of Clay Helton and the Trojans.

Battle In The Trenches

The Utah offense will finally have the chance to take on a defense that is full of highly touted athletes. The contest is mouthwatering.

Zack Moss has carried the ball 57 times for 373 yards while USC’s starting running back, Vavae Malepeai, has 58 carries for 272 yards. If Utah can win the battle in the trenches, it would not surprise me if they ran the football in a similar fashion to what we saw during the second half of the BYU game.

Keeping USC’s offense off the field for long stretches of time will only help Utah’s chances of securing their fourth consecutive victory of the season.

My Prediction

The line opened and has stayed at -3.5 in favor of Utah. Vegas sees this game being a tight one, what do they know that we don’t?

If Utah can keep control of the football and not have any turnovers, Utah wins comfortably. Assuming that the stifling Utah defense can (should) force a few turnovers of their own.

Utah 27
USC 10

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Utah Offense Will Face First Highly Touted Defense In Mouthwatering Contest