Devin Kaufusi: ‘We Are Confident’ Matching Up Against Oregon
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah vs. Oregon game on Saturday night is one of the biggest games ever at Rice-Eccles Stadium with the No. 3 Ducks coming into town. This game will be interesting as both teams could see each other again in a few weeks in Las Vegas for the Pac-12 championship.
The Utes have a single loss in conference play and own the tiebreaker over Arizona State with Utah’s win over the Sun Devils earlier this year. This Utah game is big, like really big, for the program. A win over a top-five team has not happened very often for this program. There was the 2009 win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. As for home games vs. top-five teams, the Utes are just 1-5 all-time with the only win coming in 2013 as the Utes top a No. 5 Stanford team, 27-21.
All week leading up to this game head coach Kyle Whittingham said this is just another game and preparing as usual for this Oregon matchup, but he did provide a caveat.
“We treat them all the same,” Whittingham said. “That’s how you have to do it in the Pac-12 because if you don’t, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, you’re going to get beat if you’re not ready to go. We approach it the same exact way every single week.”
Whittingham did add:
“This will be obviously, on paper, be our biggest test of the year.”
The coaches know this is a big game and that is what they wanted when the Utes joined the Pac-12 nearly a decade ago, and it was for these types of opponents and opportunities.
Utah’s Devin Kaufusi joins Unrivaled each week and he admitted that while the Utes are preparing the same, there is a different type of energy this week.
“For sure the mentality is that every week we know how to practice the right way,” Kaufusi said. “Watching the film [on Oregon] we walked out of the film room we felt really encouraged and we are confident. We also felt it will take the sacrifices and work throughout the week for it to show up on game day.”
It takes hard work and practice to prepare the right way. This game just has a different feeling to it with a top-five team coming into Salt Lake City. The excitement is there and especially so with the Utes being favored in this matchup despite being ranked No. 23.
Honoring The Military
The one big thing in this game beyond itself is the USS Salt Lake City uniforms that Utah will be donning against the Ducks as they are honoring the military.
These type of special uniform games get the crowd and players jacked up for the contest so appreciating and honoring the military will be a special day. This will just add to the game-day atmosphere and give Rice-Eccles Stadium a special feeling once the game kicks off.
Schools are smart in doing these types of games with a color scheme for the fans like a black- or white-out game with the stadium one color to match the player’s uniforms. This is all done to get some extra motivation and excitement and in this case, will honor a great group of people in the military.
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