Pac-12 Opener Game Thread

Utah's Travis Wilson had trouble with the Oregon St. defense in last year's 21-7 win by the Beavers, but has been brilliant in 2 home wins this season. - Photo by Andy Wooldridge
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Oregon St. (1-1) at Utah (2-0) / Rice-Eccles Stadium / 8 PM MDT (7 PM PDT) / Fox Sports 1 / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM

Game Notes / Utah Game Notes

Oregon St. and Utah open their Pac-12 seasons with a late night game in Salt Lake City. Rice-Eccles stadium should be rocking with Ute fans who have helped Utah get off to a great start to their season, starting with a 30-26 come from behind win over area rival Utah St., and then a blowout of another neighbor last week, when the Utes rolled to a 49-0 halftime lead, on their way to a 70-7 win that was their largest margin of victory since a 66-0 victory over Idaho St. in 1994. It was also the most points the Utes have posted in 40 years, since an 82-6 win over UTEP in 1973.

Travis Wilson leads the Utes, and has 5 touchdown passes and 566 yards passing in their first 2 games, and without any interceptions. Wilson also ran for 93 yards and 2 touchdowns in the romp over Weber St.

Wilson has a 1-2 receiving punch of Sean Fitzgerald and Dres Anderson, who both have over 260 yards already, and a pair of touchdowns apiece.

The Beavers will counter with a red-hot Sean Mannion led passing offense. Mannion threw for 372 yards and 4 touchdowns against Hawaii, this on the heels of a 37 of 43 performance for 422 yards and 3 touchdowns the week before against Eastern Washington.

Brandin Cooks will look to stay hot as Mannion's best target against Utah, and add to his already hefty totals of 20 catches for 288 yards and 4 touchdowns.

With all that air power, the key to the game may well be which team best establishes a rushing game.

Oregon St. holds a 10-6-1 edge in the series, which dates back to 1931, but the Beavers haven't won in Salt Lake City since a 24-21 win in 1968, when Bill "Earthquake" Enyart set school records that still stand for carries and rushing yards. Playing without an injured quarterback Steve Preece, the "Earthquake" packed the pumpkin 50 times for 299 yards to earn the win.

For the first time since Utah joined the Pac-12, the Utes-Beavers game won't be a "black out", surprising given this is a night game, after both Utah and Oregon St. exercised the black out tactic to good effect in the last 2 years.

The game is homecoming for Utah though, an unusual move this early in the season, but one sure to make for an enthusiastic crowd in all of Rice-Eccles, never mind the "MUSS" (Mighty Utah Student Section).

Oregon St. will go with the snowman look, breaking out their new white uniforms, and also donning white helmets for the first time in a generation.

Buildingthedam will be at the game, and back afterwards with complete coverage and analysis of the Beavers and the Utes, and see which team joins Washington St. atop the Pac-12 standings.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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