BYU vs. Utah fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, November 24
Game Time: 10:00 ET
Venue: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT
BYU (6-5) vs. Utah (8-3) Game Preview
One Reason Why BYU Will Win
Well there’s the running game. We’ve missed you.
The Cougars had a few issues getting things going offensively over the second half of the season, and it all started on an offensive line that couldn’t get a push in game after game. There were moments – like an explosion against Hawaii – but that was an aberration.
The Cougars rolled on the ground against UMass, and exploded last week against New Mexico State for 317 yards and six scores.
Of course Utah is a wee bit of an upgrade, but at least the Cougars have at least been able to find something in freshman Lopini Katoa – who went off last week for four touchdowns – and the offensive line started to work again.
On the other side, the Cougar run defense continues to be a killer. It hasn’t allowed anyone to power away over the second half of the season – no one has gained more than 113 yards in any of the last five games – and if it can do that against the Utes, and force Jason Shelley to make the mistakes he did a few weeks ago against Arizona State – with three interceptions – this should be interesting.
And then there’s the part of this that none of the fans on either side want to believe …
Utah has a game that matters next week.
Of course the BYU game is the one Utah wants and needs to keep the neighbors and friends from being annoying, but the Pac-12 Championship is coming up, and the response of “Rose Bowl” would squash any trash talk. Utah will do everything it can to pull this off, but it can be forgiven if it’s focus is …
One Reason Why Utah Will Win
Nah. It’s BYU. The Washington-Washington State winner can wait. Yes, BYU started to run well again, but Utah’s defense has picked up its intensity a bit after the injuries on the offensive side threatened to derail the season.
Over the last two weeks after the loss to Arizona State, the Utes haven’t allowed much of anything on the ground, stuffing Oregon and handling Colorado without a problem.
The defensive front was already disruptive, but it’s been suffocating, generating ten sacks and 28 tackles for loss over the last two games.
Despite the new parts in the backfield, the mistakes aren’t there. Shelley might not be Drew Brees when it comes to accuracy, but he hasn’t thrown a pick after the ASU issues.
The running game certainly misses Zack Moss, but it’s still decent enough to bring a bit of a push, even against the terrific BYU run D.
As long as the Utah defense is doing what it’s supposed to, the offense won’t have to force anything.
What’s Going To Happen
The BYU defense will be just strong enough to keep this from getting out of hand, but the Utah D will be just a half-click better.
Utah will win the field position battle as the defense comes up with stop after stop, but it’ll be a bit of a frustrating day as offense stalls too often. That’s where Matt Gay comes in.
He’ll punch in several field goals to keep pushing ahead, and BYU won’t have enough good drives to be able to answer.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Utah 26, BYU 13
Line: Utah -11.5, o/u: 44
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Must See Rating: 3
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