Select Six Previews: Utes will dominate an overmatched Aztecs staff

Justin Miller (12) of the Southern Utah Thunderbirds is tackled by way of Junior Tafuna (58) of The Utah Utes in Salt Lake Town on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. (Ben B. Braun, Deseret Information)

Estimated learn time: 4-5 mins

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah spread out at Rice-Eccles Stadium with a 73-7 blowout home-opening win over Southern Utah final week.

The Thunderbirds tried an onsides kick to start out the sport, and it used to be temporarily all Utes from there as they submit probably the most issues in a sport since their 82-6 win over UTEP in 1973. Southern Utah went 1-10 final yr and is now in a training transition season — they had been merely no fit for the protecting Pac-12 champions.

The offense moved the ball at will to the track of 599 yards (8.4 in step with play) and posted 9 touchdowns, however a defensive ranking added some additional significance. R.J. Hubert returned a 3rd quarter move for a landing, marking the nineteenth immediately season that Utah has scored a pick out six — by way of a long way the longest lively streak in The usa.

That run extends the entire as far back as when defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley used to be a security within the Utah secondary.

The matchup Saturday evening towards former Mountain West rival San Diego State will be offering extra perception than the 10-touchdown win towards the overmatched FCS opponent.

San Diego State is 7-3 towards the Pac-12 since 2016, and the Aztecs even knocked off Utah final yr 33-31 in Carson, California. That loss ended up marking the transition level of the 2021 season, as Cam Emerging took over the quarterback spot overdue within the sport. He led 3 landing drives and became an useless offense into one of the vital country’s perfect.

Even though Utah misplaced that sport, the fourth quarter comeback locked Emerging into the beginning position and sparked Utah’s run to its first Energy 5 convention identify.

With Brewer because the starter, Utah went 1-2 (Recreation Grader: forty eighth of 66 Energy 5); however with Emerging, they went 9-2 (Recreation Grader: sixth of 66 Energy 5).

The hole loss to Florida took away Utah’s margin of error, and the Utes should navigate the nine-game Pac-12 common season and the convention identify completely — without a mulligan. Because the Pac-12 expanded in 2011, no staff has long gone an excellent 9-0 in convention play.

Sooner than they tackle that problem, the Utes host San Diego State and intention for revenge.

Recreation Grader

(Opponent-adjusted statistical dominance by the use of Select Six Previews)

3-12 months Reasonable 2019-21: Utah 68.9 (seventh) | San Diego State 51.0 (forty second of 66 Energy 5 similar)2021 Season: Utah 69.5 (seventh) | San Diego State 57.2 (twenty seventh of 66 Energy 5 similar)2022 Season: Utah 61.4 (twenty fourth) | San Diego State 27.3 (sixtieth of 66 Energy 5 similar)

With only a two-game pattern measurement, the 2022 Recreation Grader has Utah within the Most sensible 25 after a 3-point loss towards a Most sensible 25 opponent and a 66-point FCS win.

San Diego State with the ball

San Diego State has had a run-heavy identification on offense lately — assume Wisconsin, Iowa, or Kentucky — to counterpoint their stout defenses. That pattern has endured into 2022. Within the opener, they tried simply 16 passes (finished seven) and rushed 42 occasions.

The Aztecs offense used to be close down in that sport by way of Arizona, a staff that went 1-11 final season.

This will likely be a step up in issue from the offense Utah confronted final week. Credit score Utah for doing what they had been meant to towards an FCS offense. The Utes held Southern Utah to below 100 general yards and allowed simply 4 first downs in all of the sport.

In opposition to Florida, the Utah move rush did not generate a unmarried sack and so they handiest made two performs within the backfield. I’m to peer how they fare of their 2d FBS check, as any other tune-up prior to convention play.

Utah with the ball

The Utah offensive line is as dominant as I anticipated. They’ve led the offense to a 5.9 yards/raise reasonable — even upper than final season’s Energy 5 perfect 5.6 quantity.

In opposition to Southern Utah, Emerging used to be targeted at the brief and intermediate passes, and locked in on his tight ends. Whilst the TE duo of Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid is without doubt one of the country’s perfect, I wish to see Emerging stretch the protection at the outsides and vertically to extensive receivers.

Working again Tavion Thomas rushed for any other two touchdowns however fumbled the ball as soon as. This used to be a subject matter for Thomas early final season, and ball safety has an additional significance inside Kyle Whittingham’s program. Search for extra of a rotation right here with extra carries and touches to veteran chief Micah Bernard, breakout ability Jaylon Glover, and Chris Curry.

San Diego State’s 3-3-5 protection is an outlier scheme popularized by way of their former head trainer Rocky Lengthy and endured below a number of coordinators. The bottom formation swaps out an internal lineman for a 5th defensive again, necessarily buying and selling measurement for pace with the objective of protecting fashionable unfold passing assaults.

This doesn’t seem to be one in every of their elite defensive gadgets as Jayden de Laura lit them up for 299 yards and 4 touchdowns during the air in Week 1. This matchup is a decisive merit for Utah. Search for Emerging to do the similar as de Laura towards the San Diego State protection.

Recreation prediction

The usage of the Arizona-San Diego State opener as a benchmark, this doesn’t seem to be one in every of San Diego State’s more potent groups. With a revenge mindset coupled with an evening sport domestic environment, Utah is not going to fail to remember this opponent. Search for Utah to illuminate the scoreboard and roll that certain momentum into convention play.

No. 14 Utah 48 | San Diego State 17

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Brett Ciancia is the landlord of Select Six Previews, a school soccer preview mag graded because the “Maximum Correct Season Preview” since 2012 (by the use of Stassen). Ciancia used to be named a Heisman Trophy voter in 2019 and used to be invited to the FWAA’s All-The usa Staff variety committee in 2020.

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