GAME PREVIEW: (20) Utah vs. BYU, Ute edition

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A Tale of Two Seasons.

A win in overtime vs. Pitt. A blowout of UNLV. A smack down of the Lobos. A laugher against San Jose State. A run-up of the Cyclones. A win for the last time in Laramie. Colorado State came to town, enough said. Survived in Colorado Springs.

Utah at one point was 8-0, then came the TCU game, and the Notre Dame game. The San Diego State game was a tale of two seasons in itself.

So who are they? Utah fans have seen two teams show up this season. They have seen the offensively dominant, quick, fast, and dangerous team. They have seen the stout defensive line stop running backs in their tracks.

Then, they have seen the lackluster, careless, and inept offense not move the ball an inch, let alone a yard. The defense was leaking like a sieve. So who are they, and which Utah team will show up against BYU?

The way that the Utes got beat by the Horned Frogs was embarrassing. When Utah followed that up with a game like they played at Notre Dame, the season was all but done - at least that's the way the team was playing. The possibility of the BCS was gone. There was no possibility of a Mountain West Conference Championship. All was lost. The mental funk that the Utes were in was unreal. They looked dead.

So, what happened? There is usually a couple breaks that a team can point to that really helped define their season. The Hail Mary against the Aztecs just before halftime may have been that moment. For the first time in a few games, the Utes started to have fun. In the second half against San Diego State, they started to make some breaks and take advantage like all of us have seen the Utes do so often in the last few seasons. They took the ball away from the Aztecs. They played with a purpose. The defense came around a little. The offense put up some points.

With the rivalry game, who will they be? The Utah team that has won nine games, or the team that lost two games?

There are two reasons the Utes will win - or lose.

1. The secondary- The Utah football team will be so concentrated on making BYU's freshman quarterback be one dimensional. Jake Heaps can throw the ball, and he has been on a tear the past few games. But, BYU has been able to run the ball in those games. If Sealver Siliga and the fellas up front can keep the Cougars running attack on hold, it is up to the secondary. Can Brandon Burton and Lamar Chapman cover this week?

2. Jordan Wynn- the Utah quarterback has looked really good at times, and has also looked like he didn't want to play. Is he the 330 yard three touchdown quarterback? Or is he the two interception, won't sell-out for a first down at Notre Dame quarterback? The BYU defense has played with passion since Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall took over that side of the ball.

Those are two key parts of the Utah football team that I will be watching. There will always be the turnover ratio that will determine the game, but if Utah's secondary and Quarterback can win their battles, look for the Utes to win the game.

My Prediction: Utah 34, BYU 31

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Mike Grant


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