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Three Storylines That Could Determine Winner Of Utah/Oregon State Game

Utah Utes linebacker Devin Lloyd (0) in action during a PAC12 football game between the Utah Utes and the Washington Huskies on November 28, 2020, at Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA. (Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah football will search for their first win of the 2020 season on Saturday when they host Oregon State.

Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, Utah is 5-2 against the Beavers, including a 2-1 record at home. Last season, the Utes traveled to Corvallis and picked up a 52-7 victory.

Here are the Crimson Corner’s three storylines that could determine the winner of Utah/Oregon State.

Stop OSU RB Jermar Jefferson

Oregon State star running back Jermar Jefferson will be at the top of Utah’s scouting report this week. Jefferson has rushed for over 100 yards in all four games this season. He had 120 yards against Washington State, 133 yards versus Washington, 196 yards against California and 226 yards last week against Oregon.

This season, Jefferson has rushed for 675 yards and 7 touchdowns. Utah has allowed 181 rushing yards this season, 93 vs. USC and 88 against Washington. The Utes have always made it top priority to stop the run. This week will be the biggest challenge this season to do so.

Get Covey, Kuithe, Jordan Involved Early And Often

Britain Covey did not play against USC and was limited versus Washington, playing mostly special teams. If Covey is healthy this week, look for Andy Ludwig to get the ball to him early and often.

Brant Kuithe is completely healthy but hasn’t been utilized as much as the coaching staff would like to through two games. Utah’s 2019 receiving leader has 8 catches for 46 yards and one carry for 9 yards.

It looks like Utah might have found their lead running back in true freshman Ty Jordan. The Mesquite, Texas native has been tremendous through two games this season with 17 carries 129 yards, along with 5 receptions for 52 yards. Last week against Washington, Jordan racked up 97 yards on 10 carries. Kyle Whittingham and Andy Ludwig said that Jordan is separating himself from the other running backs and has earned more touches.

Ball security will be key for the young freshman this week after losing a fumble in the second half last week against Washington.

Don’t Turn The Ball Over

In just two games this season, Utah has turned the ball over 9 times, 4 fumbles and 5 interceptions. They had 5 turnovers against USC in the season opener and 4 miscues last week.

Defensively, Utah has forced five turnovers with four interceptions and one fumble. The Utes had 3 takeaways last week against Washington.

It’s an overused cliché but winning the turnover battle this week will be critical and a must if they want to get their first win of the 2020 season.

Kickoff between the Utes and Beavers on Saturday, December 5 will be at 8:30 p.m. MST at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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