- Head Coach: Kyle Whittingham (17th Season)
- 2020 Record: 3-2 (3-2 in Pac-12)
- Last Meeting: 12/5/20 - Utah 30, Oregon State 24
- Key Returners: OL - Nick Ford, DL - Mika Tafua, TE - Brant Kuithe
The Utes will undoubtedly be three things when they hit the field this Fall, which is evolving, experienced and experimenting, with an expected 18 starters back in the fold and a fleet of transfers ready to make their mark.
The most notable of those could be Baylor transfer quarterback Charlie Brewer, who is expected to win the job over last year’s opening day starter Cameron Rising, a rising junior that missed almost all of 2020 due to a shoulder injury. Brewer tossed for 9,700 and 65 scores during his four years with the Bears and will likely step in as one of the bigger arms in the Pac-12.
That should solve the quarterback issue for Utah.
Then, at running back, could-be starter Micah Bernard saw the room around him getting very crowded, very quickly when a pair of power conference add-ons in Oklahoma’s TJ Pledger and LSU’s Chris Curry suddenly appeared on campus. Simply put, it may be a committee approach that rides the hot hand behind one of the best offensive lines in all of college football.
And that offensive line is ruthless, considering they return all five starters from 2020, including Nick Ford, one of the best linemen in the land, and guard Sataoa Laumea, one of the best kept secrets in the Pac-12. Add to that tight end Brant Kuithe, and offensively, the Utes may not boast the best depth the Pac-12 has ever seen, but on the surface have enough with a mix-and-match group of wide receivers to get the job done.
Just like things get going up-front on offense, they start up front on defense for the Utes, who need defensive lineman Mika Tafu to speed along a group that can be solid with the electric linebacking core behind them. At the second-level, Utah boasts one of the Conference of Champion’s elite individual players in Devin Lloyd, a second-team All-American from a year ago. If Lloyd can elevate the play of some of the pieces around him, this Utes’ front-seven can make the leap they need to.
Where things get testy will definitely be in the secondary though. Besides JaTravis Broughton, a talent featured in our Player to Watch below, there’s a lot of questions that need to be answered, specifically if this group can handle some of the passing onslaughts in the Pac-12. However, Utah has been one of the most consistent teams regardless of rosters under Whittingham and still look to content like they regularly do for a conference title.
Player To Watch
JaTravis Broughton - Defensive Back
Oregon State fans should remember Broughton well, as he racked up nine tackles in 2020’s matchup against the Beavers and the 5’ 11”, 190-pounder will be asked to go from secondary piece to focal point as the Fall of 2021 comes around. During the 2020 campaign as a whole, Broughton deflected four passes and tallied 26 total tackles to finish fourth on the team as a whole through just five games, yet led all true cornerbacks in those stats.
- Date: Saturday, October 23rd
- Time: TBD
- Location: Reser Stadium (Corvallis, Oregon)