Pac-12 South champ Utah looks to extend streak over BYU
Line: Utah by 13½.
Series record: Utah 60-34-4
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Utah is looking to claim its eighth straight victory over BYU in one of the college football’s most intense rivalries. The Utes clinched the school’s first Pac-12 South title after beating Colorado 30-7 in their regular season finale. The Cougars are seeking their first win over Utah since 2009 after winning back-to-back games over Massachusetts and New Mexico State to get bowl eligible.
Utah’s run offense vs BYU’s run defense. The Cougars have had success stopping the run over their last five games, allowing just 83.0 yards per game and 2.5 yards per carry over those contests The Utes boast the top rushing offense in the Pac-12 at 201.7 yards per game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
BYU: QB Zach Wilson. Pressure will be on Wilson to make plays with his arm. Utah’s run defense, which ranks fifth nationally (95.5 ypg), isn’t going to let the Cougars do much on the ground. He also has thrown just two touchdown passes in his last four games.
Utah: LB Chase Hansen. No doubt Hansen will be fired up to make an impact after getting ejected following a questionable first quarter targeting penalty against Colorado. Hansen is a disruptive playmaker with 88 tackles, 19 TFL, and 5.0 sacks this season.
FACTS & FIGURES
Utah leads the nation in red-zone defense (19 scores in 32 trips for 59.4 percent) and also leads the Pac-12 in red zone offense (38-of-42, .91 percent). . BYU has played 26 freshmen this season, including 17 true freshmen. Eleven freshmen have started for the Cougars. . The Utes have won 22 straight nonconference games dating back to an overtime loss to Utah State in 2012. Utah is 27-1 in nonconference play since joining the Pac-12. . BYU RB Matt Hadley has averaged 6.2 yards per carry in his last five games since switching from linebacker. Hadley is the Cougars’ no. 3 rusher with 315 total yards. . Utah DE Bradlee Anae leads the Pac-12 with 7.0 sacks. … 17 of the last 20 games between BYU and Utah have been decided by seven or fewer points.