Three Things To Watch: Oregon State Vs. #12 Utah

Sep 30, 2022, 10:22 AM
Tavion Thomas - Utah Utes - Oregon State Beavers...
Utah Utes RB Tavion Thomas (9) runs the ball against Oregon State Beavers DB Jaydon Grant (3) and Oregon State Beavers OLB Riley Sharp (56) during a PAC-12 conference football game between the Utah Utes and Oregon State Beavers on October 23, 2021 at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon. (Photo by Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY- Oregon State will be paying the #12 Utah Utes a visit at Rice-Eccles Stadium Saturday afternoon and the matchup has a few interesting factors to watch for. The Beavers have slowly been on the rise the past few seasons under head coach Jonathan Smith. During their rise, OSU has given a few teams a heart attack (USC last weekend), and they have even upset them (the Utes last season in Corvallis).

Both teams will be coming into game time with something to prove. Here are three things to watch Saturday afternoon between the #12 Utes and the Beavers.

Life Without Brant Kuithe

Utah will be playing their first game without tight end phenom Brant Kuithe after he suffered a season-ending injury against ASU last weekend. It’s hard to imagine the Utes’ offense will suffer too much without Kuithe, but there certainly could be a period of adjustment as others jockey to fill his shoes.

Add in that Oregon State is probably the best defense Utah has faced since their opener at Florida and things potentially could get interesting. Who will step up in Kuithe’s absence? What will that look like? How long will it take for someone to establish themselves as “next man up”?

These are all valid questions and certainly something most will be keeping a close watch on in the coming weeks starting tomorrow against the Beavers.

Stop The Run

If there was one thing that killed Utah last year in Corvallis, it was their inability on defense to stop the run. Oregon State racked up 260 yards rushing on the Utes in 2021. To start this season, Utah allowed 283 yards rushing against Florida signaling those woes maybe weren’t completely behind the Utes.

Since taking on the Gators it does appear that Utah is on the right track defending the run, but they also haven’t faced the best rushing teams either. A solid performance against the Beavers could put all those questions to bed once and for all.

Who’s Chip Wins Out?

This one might the most interesting factor of all. Both Utah and Oregon State play a tough, physical brand of football that thrives on the ol’ “chip on the shoulder”. Both teams have some good reasons to be feeling particularly angsty about this game.

Looking at it from Oregon State’s perspective, they had #7 USC right where they wanted them last weekend, only to come up short 17-14. That’s a tough pill to swallow and certainly motivation to come out the next week against one of the other “big dogs” in the conference and try to take them out.

On Utah’s side, you aren’t forgetting anytime quickly that OSU got the better of you the year before on your way to a historic season. It’s a blemish the Utes certainly wish wasn’t there. They had a similar bad taste in their mouths over the San Diego State game last season and took care of them earlier in the schedule in 2022. It certainly would seem Oregon State is the next stop on Utah’s 2022 revenge tour.



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