UTAH UTES (3-0)
at ARIZONA WILDCATS (2-1)
Arizona Stadium Ė Tucson, AZ
Kickoff: Friday, 10:30 p.m. ET
Line: Utah -3.5, Total: 60.5
Arizona will be hoping to pull off a Friday night upset over #23 Utah this week.
The Utes are off to a great start this season, as they have now won-and-covered in all three of their games. The most impressive of those victories was a 19-13 win as five-point road favorites against BYU. The team now has a good chance to improve to 4-0, but the Wildcats have been solid this season and will definitely have some extra energy playing in front of their fans in a night game. Arizona has won-and-covered in two of its three games this year, and the one loss was a 19-16 defeat at the hands of a good Houston team. That game easily could have gone either way and this Wildcats team looks much improved this year. Itís also worth noting that Arizona has dominated this head-to-head series as of late. Utah won 36-23 when the teams met last year, but Arizona had won-and-covered in four straight heading into that one. One trend that stands out when looking at this game is the fact that Utah is 41-20 ATS in road games when playing against a team with a winning record since 1992. The Utes are also playing an Arizona team that is just 2-11 ATS in home games versus teams that average 32 or more possession minutes per game since 1992.
Utah is really rolling right now and a lot of that has to do with the play of QB Tyler Huntley (868 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT). Like most of the Utesí quarterbacks in the past decade, Huntley is a very capable runner. He has rushed for 212 yards and three touchdowns through three games, and you can count on him using his legs against the Wildcats here. This is going to be a high-scoring game, so Huntley will have plenty of opportunities to make plays in this one. The same goes for RB Zack Moss (192 yards, 2 TD), who has rushed for only 64 yards over the past two weeks. Moss has found it tough to get going in recent weeks, but heíll have a lot more holes against this Wildcats defense. But when Huntley decides to air it out, itíll be WR Darren Carrington (26 rec, 409 yards, 4 TD) that heíll be trying to find. Carrington was a highly-coveted transfer from Oregon this offseason, and he has not taken very long to get used to his surroundings. He had nine catches for 153 yards and three touchdowns last week and should be able to come through with yet another big performance here. Defensively, the Utes will want to pressure the quarterback in this one. If they donít then Dawkins will find a way to beat them with his arm or his legs.
Much like Tyler Huntley, Arizona QB Brandon Dawkins (422 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT) is a guy that uses his speed to help move his offense down the field. Last week, Dawkins threw for 155 yards with three touchdowns and no picks but also added 133 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Expect him to be just as active in the running game this week, as he is not going to be able to pick apart a good Utah defense from the pocket. Dawkins faced this team a year ago, throwing for 243 yards with one touchdown and two picks. He also rushed for 49 yards and a score. He will, however, need to be more careful with the ball on Friday. If Dawkins commits multiple turnovers then Arizona is not going to have any chance of winning this game. The Wildcats will also have a hard time if nobody else steps up and contributes offensively. On the defensive end, stopping the run game will need to be a priority for Arizona. If the Utes are rolling on the ground then they are going to win this game by at least two touchdowns. The Wildcats must also make sure that their safety is over the top on Carrington at all times.