Scouting The Utah Utes, Quarterback Is Just Part Of The Equation


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It’s the Pac-12 football opener for both teams as the 13th-ranked Oregon Ducks host the number 18 Utah Utes Saturday night at Autzen. The Utes are 3-0, have their highest ranking since 2010 and they are a good team, but questions abound.

First of all, at quarterback.

Like the Ducks, Utah’s number one guy, Travis Wilson, didn’t play last week and is questionable for this week. Wilson landed hard on his right shoulder after a 38-yard run against Utah State and missed the Fresno State game. Like the Ducks, it didn’t matter. Kendal Thompson got the start, but top running back Devontae Booker ran for two scores and 156 yards while the Utes special teams and defense combined for three scores in the 45-24 win.

No matter the starting QB, the Ducks defensive game plan must revolve around stopping and dangerous Booker, last season’s Pac-12 first-team running back. The transfer from Sacramento took the Utes starting RB job by game five last season and that’s the only reason he didn’t break 2,000 yards rushing, finishing with 1,875, still third best in Utah history.

Michigan knew this and held him to 69 yards in game one, but he already has 345 yards this season, so that should tell you about what he did in games two and three.

Secondly, the Utah schedule has not been exceedingly daunting. They beat Michigan the first week of the season, and while it seems like the country expected the Wolverines to start the Jim Harbaugh era with a win, anybody who follows Pac-12 football knew better. Michigan got better as the game went on, that’s for sure, but it was Utah’s from kickoff.

The Utes strength has recently been defense, but again when your first three opponents are a not-up-to-snuff Michigan, Utah State and Fresno State, there isn’t a lot to go on. They’re 35th in the nation right now, giving up 18.3 points per game so far, they’ve also given up more than a thousand yards in offense and almost 260 passing yards per game. The Ducks wideouts ought to take advantage of that no matter who’s at quarterback.

I don’t see the Utes taking down Oregon at Autzen. Utah is good, but they’re not that good. But it may very well be closer than people think. Pac-12 football can get a little goofy, especially after dark. Oregon and Utah kickoff Saturday night at 5:45pm Pacific Time on FOX.

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