Scott G Winterton
Utah Utes working again Zack Moss (2) celebrates with teammates after scoring a landing as Utah and Stanford play a soccer sport in Palo Alto California on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018.
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah enters Friday evening’s sport against Arizona with a protection that leads the Pac-12 in a large number of techniques.
The Utes are the convention frontrunners in first down protection, opponent third-down conversion share, move potency protection, crimson zone protection, dashing protection, and overall protection. They’re 2d in defensive touchdowns, scoring protection and tackles for loss, and 0.33 in interceptions.
“It’s the best defense in the league right now and they’ve got a lot of experience, a lot of size and a lot of athleticism,” mentioned Arizona trainer Kevin Sumlin. “They play well together. They haven’t given up a bunch of big plays. They’ve really limited people in their run game.”
All that, and the truth that quarterback Khalil Tate of the Wildcats is much less cellular than anticipated this season, might bode neatly for the Utes.
What’s unknown, although, is how Utah’s offense will fare. The Utes these days are living a few of the Pac-12’s lowest-ranked groups on the subject of move potency offense, scoring offense, overall offense and passing offense.
However, there was once dramatic growth in ultimate Saturday’s 40-21 win at Stanford. The Utes racked up 421 yards of overall offense. Running again Zack Moss netted 160 yards at the flooring and quarterback Tyler Huntley finished 17 of 21 passes.
“We know we can do it,” Huntley mentioned. “It’s just a matter of us going out and doing it.”
Huntley added that he felt everybody did a just right task of doing their jobs and that’s why they got here out with the win.
Utah (Three-2, 1-2) snapped a two-game skid with the victory. Senior linebacker Cody Barton famous the significance of conserving issues rolling.
“This could be a huge thing for us,” he mentioned. “We’ve got six Pac-12 games left. If we win all six out, you know what I mean, we’re going to the Pac-12 championship.”
Although different variables are essential to make it occur, Barton added that the Utes are coming near the location as though it’s all underneath their keep an eye on.
“That’s one of our main things, is use this momentum from last game and just let it continue — let us grow from it,” Barton mentioned.
Utah trainer Kyle Whittingham would additionally like to peer the Utes construct at the win at Stanford and no longer suppose that they’ve were given all of the solutions. He insists that’s a long way from being the case.
“The key to the last couple of games is we’ve really taken good care of the ball, zero turnovers which is always going to give you a chance to win,” Whittingham mentioned. “But we’re starting to establish our identity. We’re a physical team. We always feel like we’re a physical team.”
As facets like passing the ball neatly come round, Utah enters a pivotal stretch of the time table. Over an eight-day span, the Utes face department foes Arizona and USC at Rice-Eccles Stadium adopted by means of highway video games at UCLA and Arizona State.
“I’m just worried about this game,” Whittingham insists. “This game is all I’m worried about, just trying to find a way to have success on Friday night.”
Already intriguing since the Pac-12’s preseason media ballot had Utah and Arizona picked to complete 2d and 0.33, respectively, within the South Division, there are a number of different storylines to observe. The matchups come with:
— Utah’s protection permits simply 75.four yards consistent with sport at the flooring. Arizona’s dashing offense counters with a median of 201.eight yards.
— The sport options the Pac-12’s tackles for loss leaders. Utah’s Chase Hansen assessments in with 2.zero consistent with sport. Arizona linebacker Colin Schooler is 2d with 1.nine.
— Defense may reign preferrred. Utah is protecting warring parties to 17.2 issues consistent with sport, whilst Arizona is giving up 18.Three issues consistent with trip over 3 Pac-12 contests.
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Utes at the air
Arizona (Three-Three, 2-1)
at Utah (Three-1, 1-2)
Friday, eight p.m.
Radio: ESPN 700AM