Utah State is a team Utah should beat. They are better in almost every respect. The Utah defensive line is better than Utah State's offensive line. The Utah front seven should harrass Utah State's Chuckie Keeton if the run game stalls. Utah State is replenishing a front seven that had some solid moments last fall, and the new group will be tasked with going up against one of the best run-blocking units in the country.
However, if Utah State proves they can move the football on Utah at home? All bets are off. Utah State piles up a lot of yards through their ground game, and if they can unleash Joe Hill for methodical gains against the Utah front-seven, that could allow the Aggies to control the clock and try and wear down that Utah front seven. A few early scores could force the pressure back on Jordan Wynn to throw the football against an experienced Utah State secondary. Utah should probably exert their will with their front seven, but if Keeton can loosen things up with quick accurate throws, that could loosen things up.
Make no mistake, Utah State is the underdog, but Utah shouldn't go walking into this game expecting to win. That defense will have to prove why they're considered the best in the Pac-12 by attacking the inexperienced JuCo transfer guards, and then they'll have to put enough pressure on Utah State throughout the game to force Keeton rather than Hill to make plays. Then they'll have to run the ball down Utah State's throw to dominate the temp of the game, which they should be able to do with John White IV.
No doubt the winner of the rushing yards per attempt stat will be the newest victor of the Battle of the Brothers.
SB Nation Snippet
JazzyUte of Block U discusses how important the Utah offense is to victory in this contest.
That's where Utah's offense needs to step up and perform well. The Aggies win this game not by matching Utah blow for blow, but by drawing the Utes into a corner early. A couple quick turnovers will definitely change the dynamics of this game and that could be Utah's undoing if they're not careful. That means Wynn has to perform at a level we expect from him because bad throws and stupid throws most certainly could lead to turnovers and Aggie points and then a potential dire situation.
It's also important the offensive line develop more holes for John White IV and give him the blocking needed to create some big runs. That will take a bit of pressure off Wynn and that should only lower the potential for shooting ourselves in the foot. One good thing about having a consistent and stellar running attack is that you can lean on it if things aren't going your way through the air. While I hope Wynn will be able to move the ball down field with his passing game, I would much rather White bulldoze the Aggies for most of the night than Wynn try to force something that isn't there.