It starts now. Preseason is over. Business up to this point has been taken care of.
Let the games begin.
The Utah football team now has only a five game season to reach their goals and it starts Saturday against the Air Force Academy. Utah fans are all well aware that games between these two schools come down to the wire. The Falcons and Utes have played 26 times and the Cadets have outscored Utah 756-737.
This is 2010.
What will be different with this game? The Utes have been looking at this game since spring camp. Utah always takes extra time during the spring, fall, and bye weeks to work on defending Air Force. The Utes also know that this could be the turning point in the season. Everyone knows they have TCU next week, and so do the coaches. With all the hype that next week's game will get, there is no way the coaches let these guys look ahead.
|Points (Per Game)||47.71||29.88|
|Passing Yards (Per Game)||273.86||113.75|
|Rushing Yards (Per Game)||193.29||326.50|
|3rd Down Conversions (Season)||56%||51%|
|4th Down Conversions (Season)||80%||76%|
|Time of Possession (Per Game)||29:25||31:04|
|Red Zone Scores (Season)||89%||86%|
Utah is catching Air Force at good time this season. In the recent past, the Utes have opened up conference play with Air Force and gotten beat. The Cadets are really good, they execute well, play smart, but later into the season, they get worn down. Historically, this is the time of the year where that happens. They will drop a game here and there that perhaps earlier in the year they might have won. The Utes are coming out of their "preseason" and are just getting warmed up. The Falcons have a few key injuries including Park City native and fullback Jared Tew. He is another key player that would make a difference.
Air Force is usually pretty stingy against the run, except this season. They are giving up over 205 yards in the ground, ranked 110th in the nation in that category. Utah will absolutely ride that. If Matt Asiata, Eddie Wide, and possibly even Sausan Shakerin can hold on to the football, the Utes will dominate. Utah might even throw in a few plays for third string quarterback Griff Robles. He has looked very good on the quarterback draw plays this season.
Utah will go into the game defensively with one objective, stop the run. They always have that objective, but today more than ever. The Falcons average 326 yards on the ground, and Utah allows 86 yards, something will have to give. Utah hasn't given up anything on the ground this season. The depth on the defensive line will give Utah the edge.
The combination of rushing attacks from Utah and Air Force might create the fastest college football game in history. Both teams will want to keep the clock moving and keep the ball. A couple of stats that will show at the end of the game will be time of possession and turnovers. If the Utes win those, they will dominate the game.
Kickoff is at 5:30 pm on CBS C(TV) and ESPN 700 Radio. Robert Jackson will have the game blog right here on KSL.com