Utah Utes (4-2, 3-0)
Picked to finish second in the Pac-12 South Division at the start of the season, Utah has overtaken the stumbles of USC (the preseason Pac-12 South Division Championship selection) and has buried tough road losses out of league to BYU and San Diego State to become a legitimate contender as a Top 25 team.
The Utes are multiple stand-out things are always under head coach Kyle Whittingham and the 2021 version of the team is no exception. A solid offense is what Utah expected when they had two quarterback options to turn to entering the year in Cameron Rising and Charlie Brewer, while a developing run game would undoubtedly come together, along with a crew of passing targets, led by tight ends Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid.
On defense, Utah is also on a positive path, lowering their average points allowed to 20.0 points per game over their last three outings, all three of which have come against Pac-12 competition. However, the Beavers are averaging 34.0 points per game, anchored by a three-game stretch after their season opening loss to Purdue.
So while the focus is usually on the battles of the offensive levels of both sides, this one may rely more on what each defense brings to the table and who can make the timely plays on that side of the ball when their back is against the wall. Regardless though, expect this one to take a full four quarters to decide, for better-or-worse for Oregon State at the end of the day.
Three Things To Know
- Running Options A-Plenty, The Utes Will Pound The Rock: Splitting 132 carries between three unique options in Tavion Thomas, Micah Bernard and TJ Pledger, Utah has achieved a very balanced offensive approach that will see their running game set the tone for the whole crew. While the Utes can toss the ball with comfort, it all starts with the stability of a deep backfield that encompasses both versatile scat-backs and bruising downhill runners.
- Devin Lloyd Could Be The Best Pure Linebacker You Watch All Year: Normally, the Big Ten and SEC are the world that elite linebackers call home, but the Utes’ Devin Lloyd is one of the exceptions that give the Pac-12 some notable notoriety on the big stage. Through six games, the 6’ 3”, 235-pounder has totaled 62 total tackles, 4 sacks, 3 passes defended, 2 interceptions and a forced fumble as one of the country’s most feared defensive talents.
- This Is A Surprising Battle Of The Pac-12 North & South Leaders: Utah is the only team still standing unblemished in league play and while it’s only been three games for the Utes, they sure have already been tested on the road at USC and in a hard-fought contest against Arizona State. Oregon State wasn’t projected to even be a factor in the conference picture and suddenly, the Beavers are proving that Jonathan Smith’s rebuild is ahead of schedule.
- Date: Saturday, October 23rd
- Time: 4:30 PM PT
- Location: Reser Stadium (Corvallis, Oregon)
- Coverage: Pac-12 Network