University of Utah Game 3 Preview – BYU

Chris Enger is a well-known name in the podcasting circuit as host of three shows: The BYUofU Show, The RSL Show, and also on Soccer Newsday. Each show is awesome in its own respect. If you’ve thought of becoming a soccer fan, and more specifically an RSL fan, you need to check out the RSL Show podcast. He makes soccer very accessible to the newbie fan. He is going to provide our loyal Ute fans with a weekly insight into the Utes next game. Check him out @fuegote and @RSLShow

Utah vs. BYU: Game 3

“Sometimes life happens, and sometimes you lay giant turds.” ~Chris Enger

I guess I have to review last weekend a little bit to get ready for this upcoming match against the BYU Cougars, so let’s keep it brief.

Utah came out as flat and listless as they have in a long time, since the UNLV loss at UNLV in 2007. I was extremely grateful to have my two month old daughter in my arms because I was ready to pull a Fred Durst and “break stuff” and I rarely get that upset at any sporting event.

Utah didn’t give Utah State the game, they just lost to a team that was more prepared, eager and created the chances to win. Utah State had an all to important punt blocked for a touch down and Chukie Keaton created the plays needed to win.

Congrats Utah State.

“No team in the history of sports ever beat themselves.” ~Jim Rome

See what I did there? That is a perfect transition giving Utah State credit for the win while using a quote to bring to your remembrance last year’s rivalry game. That’s a fantastic segue.

This game more than any other game frightens me because I have no idea what to expect. Is BYU as good as they looked the first two weeks? Is Utah as bad as they showed last week and is Utah going to have another season with a struggling quarter back surrounded by talented players (even a talented back up quarterback)?

BYU’s Defense

This is likely the strongest area of Bronco’s team this year. The front three are stout and the defensive backs aren’t as bad as they’ve been in year’s past, but the shining jewel of the defense is in the line backing corps.

Kyle Van Noy leads this speedy, aggressive bunch all over the field and if Utah isn’t careful, they’ll be the group creating the turnovers this year. Ogletree plays the game as passionately as his hairline is receding and Ansah isn’t someone I would like to meet coming out of the backfield. This group frightens me and should frighten Utah especially a Utah line that has come under so much scrutiny after a piss poor performance against Utah State.

Utah Offensive Coordinator Brian Johnson has had to shift the front five around to better protect a starter they don’t know yet. The question of backups John Hays or Travis Wilson isn’t the only one facing the Utes. What is John White IV’s status, what will we see coming from the offense? Will York or Oliver fill White’s shoes if White isn’t healthy? Will Utah abandon the running game or still try to establish it?

BYU’s defense definitely has the edge over Utah’s offense going into Saturday. BYU and Bronco have almost the full season’s video from last year on Hays so a Ratliff situation won’t likely occur, but what about Wilson?

Utah’s Defense

Even though the score was Utah State 13, Utah 0 after the first quarter last week, the defense had a solid game. They only gave up 2 offensive touchdowns which is in the range of what I predicted.

The biggest loss from last week was the injury to Eric Rowe, who is unlikely to play this weekend, leaving Utah with Chappius filling in for Blechen and Topps likely filling in for Rowe. That isn’t the kind of news you want to hear when BYU has such a strong wide receiver corps as they do this year.

BYU’s most dangerous plays are vertical passes to Hoffman or Apo. Lee and Lacy will have their hands full.

The key to Utah’s defensive game plan is to get pressure on Riley Nelson. The front four are as good as any front four in the nation and with Kruger avoiding suspension the line will be at full strength.

The wildcard for Utah is line backer/defensive end Trevor Riley. He will be the player that will cause the most havoc against a BYU front 5 that hasn’t had a good game in their first two games.

If the Utes can cause pressure on Riley Nelson and get in Mr. RileyJuice’s head, he is likely to throw errant passes similar to the throws he’s made earlier this season that should have been intercepted. Nelson is the proverbial gamer who wants to create even in the worst of situations. Sometimes that strategy works but it also leads to turnovers against a disciplined defense.

BYU also lacks any consistent running game up the middle right now so look for Utah’s defensive front seven to get after it early.

The defense is the strength for both squads and will be deciding factor in this year’s Holy War. Look for the team with the most defensive points to win the game and don’t be surprised if both teams put up defensive points.

Outcome

Allow me to put on my crimson colored glasses for just one moment. Whittingham after a loss is usually money. There’s no way the team comes out as flat as they did last Friday night. Brian Johnson will face another tough test but I like what I’ve seen from him up to this point and Hays under his watch has only improved throughout his time as a starter.

Utah will score a defensive touch down and score one offensive touchdown. The defense for Utah will hold BYU’s offense to only 10 points giving the Utes another Holy War win of 14-10.

(Don’t be surprised if this ends up being a high scoring affair that comes down to the playmaking abilities of the true freshman quarterback for each team).

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