Week Two College Football Predictions: Utah Utes at Utah State Aggies

Utah Utes at Utah State Aggies
Friday, September 7, 2012, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Romney Stadium – Logan, Utah
Opening Line: Utah -7
Current Line: Utah -7 1/2
Opening Total: 53
Current Total: 52 1/2
Opening Money Line: Utah -265 / Utah St +235
Current Money Line: Utah -300 / Utah St +260

Utah is a 7.5 point road favorite at Beehive State rival Utah St. This is the 110th meeting between the schools.

The Utah Utes and Utah St Aggies renew the 12th oldest rivalry in FBS football history. Utah and Utah St meet for the 110th time Friday in a series that dates all the back to 1892, four years before Utah was granted statehood. The Utes lead the series 77-28-4, including 25-11 in Logan. Utah has won 12 straight in the series and 20 of the last 22. The teams haven’t played since 2009 when Utah won 35-17 in Salt lake City.

Utah is coached by Kyle Whittingham. The Utes are 1-0 after an easy win over Northern Colorado. Despite not scoring in the first quarter, Utah still won 41-0. The Utes didn’t cover the 42.5 point spread though. Utah held Northern Colorado to 114 total yards including 35 rushing yards and just 7 first downs. The Bears had 2 turnovers including a 24 yard pick six in the fourth quarter. The Utes had one drive that covered 91 yards over 21 plays and took 10 minutes and 42 seconds off the clock. Utah had 414 total yards including 193 rushing yards. Quarterback Jordan Wynn was 19/27 passing for 200 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception. Running back John White IV had 24 carries, 119 yards, and a touchdown, along with 2 catches for 13 yards. Travis Wilson had 2 rushing touchdowns. Tight end Jake Murphy had 6 catches, 78 yards, and 2 touchdowns.

Utah St, coached by Gary Andersen, also had an easy game last week at home against Southern Utah. The Aggies covered the 20.5 point spread with a 34-3 victory. Utah St jumped out to a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back. The Aggies had touchdown drives of 98 and 97 yards in that quarter.  The Aggies had 581 total yards including 277 rushing yards. Utah St held the Thunderbirds to 209 total yards including 56 rushing yards. Aggie quarterback Chuckie Keeton was 22/26 passing with 304 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception. Running back Joe Hill had 11 carries, 116 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Receiver Matt Austin had 5 catches, 119 yards, and a touchdown. Chuck Jacobs had 4 catches, 64 yards, and a touchdown for the Aggies.

Utah quarterback Wynn was granted an extra year of eligibility after suffering a shoulder injury last year. He had two shoulder surgeries in a 10 month period. The star of the offense is the running back White, a potential Heisman candidate. Besides the tight end Murphy, other contributors in the receiving corps include Dres Anderson, Kenneth Scott, and Luke Matthews.

The Utah defense is led by defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, linebacker Trevor Reilly, and an excellent secondary led by safeties Eric Rowe, and Quade Chappuis. The Utah defense was one of the best in the Pac 12 last year and should continue to be so this year.

Utah St is a trendy choice to win the WAC championship before leaving for the Mountain West next year. The offense is led by sophomore quarterback Keeton and running back Hill. Hill replaces WAC offensive player of the year Robert Turbin.

The defense returns 6 starters from last year including safety McKade Brady, linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu, defensive end Al Lapuaho, and corners Nevin Lawrence and Jumanne Robertson.

Utah is 9-3 ATS after allowing 275 yards or less in the previous game, 5-2-1 in September, 15-6-1 after allowing 170 yards or less, 19-8 after scoring more than 40 points, 2-5 against teams with winning records and against WAC teams, 2-6 after allowing less than 20 points, 2-7 after allowing 100 rushing yards or less,  2-9 after a straight up win and on fieldturf. Utah St is 6-1 ATS after allowing 275 yards or less, 5-1-1 in Friday games, 10-3 in non-conference games, 21-8-1 after gaining more than 450 yards, 5-2 against teams with winning records, 9-4-1 after allowing 170 passing yards or less, 3-7-1 after a win of 20 points or more, 2-5 after allowing 100 rushing yards or less, 2-10 after a cover, 1-5-1 against Pac 12 teams, 1-7 after a straight up win, and 0-6 after allowing less than 20 points. The over is 3-0-1 in the last 4 in this series. Utah has covered in the last 5 trips to Logan, and is 5-2-1 overall in the series. The road team is 5-0-1 in the last 6.

Utah has won the last 12 meetings by an average of 24 points. This could be the last meeting in Logan for the foreseeable future, as Utah bought out of the 2014 meeting in Logan. There are two more meetings scheduled in 2013 and 2015 both in Salt Lake City, but the series future is uncertain after that. This could be the best chance for Utah St to end the 12 game losing streak against their rivals. I think Utah still wins a close game though.

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