Last year Utah Football was on the verge of being one of the highest ranked teams in the country. They lost a few nail-biters, losing to USC, Stanford, and Washington by a combined 7 points. Every one of those teams ended the season ranked in the top twenty. The Utes should be one of the top teams in the country if they can take the next step.
2017 Run Down
Conference Record: (3-6)
Home Record: (4-3)
Away Record: (2-3)
Zack Moss – 214 att- 1217 yds- 5.5 avg- 10 TD
Tyler Huntley – 199 comp- 312 att- 15 TD- 10 Int- 63.5 Comp %
Bradlee Anae – 10 TFL- 7.0 Sacks- 3 FF
Chase Hansen – 51 Tackles- 2.5 TFL- 1 Sack- 1 Int
Week 1: August 30 vs. Weber State
Utah absolutely smothered the Weber State passing game, forcing their QB to go 5/22 for 13 yards. Tyler Huntley also looked like a starting QB should against an FCS team, going 24/39 for 253 yards and 4 touchdowns. Zack Moss also looked the part with 16 carries for 150 yards, averaging 9.4 ypc.
Result: Utah 41- Weber State 10
Utah W-L Record: (1-0)
Week 2: September 8 vs. Northern Illinois
People don’t think of Northern Illinois as a football powerhouse, but they played Boston College and SDSU tough last year. That was an SDSU team that had Rashaad Penny, one of the better backs in the NCAA.
I think the difference will be Tyler Huntley, who has shown flashes of being a good quarterback. If the offense can hold up their end of the bargain we know the defense will, they consistently shut down rushing lanes, and get after the quarterback.
Expected score: Utah 24- Northern Illinois 7
Utah W-L Record: (2-0)
Week 3: September 15 vs. Washington
Don’t let the fact that Washington is ranked number six in the nation fool you. Utah will play them tough, they only lost by three points last time they met. Washington also lost Vita Vea, Dante Pettis, and Azeem Victor.
Pettis was second in rushing and receiving last time these teams met, and Vea notched 6 tackles. I think that if Washington enters week 3 undefeated they should be on upset alert. Utah will be chomping at the bit to show Washington they aren’t scared.
Expected Score: Utah 27- Washington 24
Utah W-L Record: (3-0)
Week 4: September 29 vs Washington State
This is the week that I’ll be watching intently. If Utah knocks off Washington they will be kings on campus, that combined with a bye week is a recipe for disaster. Utah lost to Washington State last year, and if they aren’t careful I think they may do it again.
Utah should win this year, in my opinion. Last year it took Luke Falk throwing the ball 70 times, and Falk is currently with the Tennessee Titans. That one change should give Utah the upper hand. Getting an inexperienced quarterback under center should help Utah’s defense. No coach will throw it 70 times with a young QB.
Expected Score: Utah 21- Washington State 14
Utah W-L Record: (4-0)
Week 5: October 6 vs Stanford
Last season Utah lost to Stanford by 3 points, and as expected, Stanford lost more to the draft than Utah. However, I think more time with the offensive line will really help Bryce Love. Stanford just has an advantage in recruiting, and they are always a good team. I think it will be another close game, and Utah could pull it out, but it isn’t something I’d bet on.
Expected Score: Utah 24- Stanford 31
Utah W-L Record:(4-1)
Week 6: October 12 vs Arizona
Arizona has an explosive offense, routinely putting up more than 40 points. However, the strength of the Utah team is their defense. Arizona lost every game they didn’t score 40 points in. An explosive offense is great, but if they have to score 40+ for the team to win that is a recipe for failure.
In conference play, Arizona gave up 28+ points in every game. Utah will be a good team defensively, so putting up 40 will be tough for Arizona.
Expected Score: Utah 35- Arizona 28
Utah W-L Record (5-1)
Week 7: October 20 vs USC
USC always recruits well, but Sam Darnold was a top 5 pick, Ronald Jones and Uchenna Nwosu were third-round picks and Rasheem Green was a third-round pick. You can recruit well, and not find that many high picks in 5 years.
I think right now it is an upset alert game, but by the time the game gets here, I think USC will look like an average team. They have good players, but the QB will need time to develop. They will put up a fight, but in the end, I think Utah will win.
Score Prediction: Utah 28- USC 17
Utah W-L Record: (6-1)
Week 8: October 26 vs UCLA
Utah is clearly more talented than UCLA, however, I think that Chip Kelly will have an offense that will set the PAC 12 on fire. Utah is a great team up front, and they play the run well.
Chip Kelly’s offense is just too impressive to think they won’t score points. That can only go so far, the UCLA defense gives up touchdowns in bunches. They gave up 40+ points five times last season, that isn’t going to win many games.
Score Prediction: Utah 55- UCLA 35
Utah W-L Record: (7-1)
Week 9: November 3 vs Arizona State
Last year Arizona State beat Utah 30-10, on the back of 4 ints by Tyler Huntley. While I expect they will have a stout defense again this year, I don’t expect Huntley to make as many mistakes. He has another year of experience, and he will have played some good defenses this year.
That being said I do think Utah will get Arizona State’s best shot, and with Herm Edwards looking to make a name for himself in the NCAA landscape, this should be a smash mouth game.
Score Prediction: Utah 14- Arizona State 17
Utah W-L Record: (7-2)
Week 10: November 10 vs Oregon
Oregon always has a high octane offense, and this year will be no different. Justin Herbert should be one of the top quarterbacks in the country this year, and as long as he is healthy they will put up points in bunches. Utah should be able to point up some points, but I suspect it won’t be enough to ward off the offensive onslaught that is Oregon.
Score Prediction: Utah 21- Oregon 35
Utah W-L Record: (7-3)
Week 11: November 17 vs Colorado
Colorado couldn’t do much to stop the Utah offense last year. This year they will be without cornerback Isaiah Oliver, who is in the NFL. If Utah could throw for 181 yards with their backup QB, and a top corner on Colorado, imagine what they can do with their starter.
Zack Moss should be able to rack up yards, as he had nearly 200 yards last time the teams met. I think that Utah will just overpower Colorado in every phase.
Score Prediction: Utah 28- Colorado 17
Utah W-L Record: (8-3)
Week 12: November 24 vs BYU
This was a close game the last time these two teams met, and I suspect it will be again. The problem for BYU is that their offense doesn’t hold up their end of the deal most of the time. The offense only scored 20+ points four times last season.
The defense kept people under 21 points six times last season. In an era in CFB where the offense is given every advantage, four 20+ point games are unacceptable. By contrast, Utah scored 20+ points 11 times last season. This game will be close because BYU’s defense will drag the offense into the game late, but ultimately it should be a win for Utah.
Score Prediction: Utah 21 – BYU 17
Utah W-L Record: (9-3)