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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utes return to action this week as they prepare to take on the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor, Mich. Saturday afternoon in a nationally televised game on ABC.
Utah is 2-0 on the young season with big wins over Idaho State and Fresno State.
"The opportunity to get our backups extensive playing time in the first two games will hopefully pay dividends for us down the road," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said.
"We've been explosive on offense and the play and execution of both Travis Wilson and Kendal Thompson at quarterback has been encouraging. Defensively, we got back on track in our win against Fresno State and our special teams continued to play well."
The Utes are facing a Michigan team that is 2-1 on the season with wins over Appalachian St. and Miami (OH); the lone loss coming against Notre Dame.
"We are looking forward to playing in one of college football's greatest venues, and our past two games in the Big House have been close and hard fought," Whittingham added.
Here are 10 things to know about this week's matchup:
- Utah (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) plays Michigan (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten) in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 20. The game will be televised regionally on ABC (including the Salt Lake City market) and on ESPN2 in markets not covered by ABC. Game time in Michigan Stadium is 3:30 p.m. EDT (1:30 p.m. MDT). Radio is ESPN700 AM and Sirius 119/XM 195.
- Utah's all-time record coming off regular-season byes is 94-40-6 (6-4 under head coach Kyle Whittingham).
- Utah (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) at Michigan (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten)
- Date: Saturday September 20
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET (1:30 MT)
- Site: Ann Arbor, Mich.
- Michigan Stadium (109,901/FieldTurf)
- TV: ABC (Regionally) /ESPN2
- Radio: ESPN700 AM and Sirius 199/XM 195
- Series Record: Tied 1-1
- Last Meeting: 2008 (Utah 25-23)
Utah and Michigan are tied at 1-1 with both games taking place in Ann Arbor. This year's game begins a home-and-home series that will bring Michigan to Salt Lake City for the first time on Sept. 3, 2015. Utah's 2008 season-opening victory over the Wolverines was a springboard for the best season in school history. The Utes went on to finish 13-0, defeat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and finish with a No. 2 A.P. ranking.
- The Utes will debut their new white helmets against Michigan. The only other time that Utah wore white helmets was from 1968-73 (research courtesy of nationalchamps.net/Helmet_Project).
- Michigan has won 20-straight September home games and head coach Brady Hoke is 11-0 against non-conference opponents in Michigan Stadium.
- The Utah-Michigan series is tied 1-1. Just five total points separated the two teams in their first two games, which were both played in Ann Arbor (Michigan 10-7 in 2002 and Utah 25-23 in 2008).
- Utah is No. 1 in the nation in sacks per game (5.5) and tackles for loss average (10.5, tied). Utah also leads the nation in net punting (49.0 yards) and kickoff returns (41.5 yards). Tom Hackett is ranked No. 1 nationally in punt average (51.1).
- Utah ranks No. 3 in the nation in scoring offense (No. 1 in the Pac-12), averaging 57.5 points per game. A lot of that is due to Utah's passing efficiency through its first two games. Utah ranks second in the Pac-12 and fourth in the nation in pass efficiency rating (189.99). Travis Wilson is ranked No. 2 nationally in passing efficiency (213.9).
- Michigan has won 18 straight non-conference home games, the 2nd-longest active streak in the Big Ten. The streak began Sept. 5, 2009. Also, Head coach Brady Hoke is 11-0 against non-conference opponents inside Michigan Stadium and 13-5 (.722) in all non-conference matchups as the Wolverines' head coach.
- The Wolverines rank 1st in the Big Ten and 7th in the NCAA in total defense, allowing an average of 252.7 yards per game. Michigan has allowed a total of 87 yards rushing (1.58 avg.) in the last two games, the lowest two-game total since 2008 when it held Utah and Miami (Ohio) to 83 yards rushing.
- Utah is 7-12 against current Big Ten teams: Illinois (0-1), Indiana (2-1), Iowa (1-0), Michigan (1-1), Minnesota (1-1), Nebraska (0-4), Northwestern (1-1), Ohio State (0-1), Wisconsin (1-2).