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Game of the Day: Utah State at Utah
Utah State Aggies at Utah Utes (-12, 44)
Utah has dominated the series with Utah State and look to post its 14th win the past 15 meetings when it hosts the Aggies on Friday. The No. 25 Utes began their season with a solid 24-17 victory over Jim Harbaugh-led Michigan while Utah State scuffled to a 12-9 win over FCS Southern Utah.
Utah senior quarterback Travis Wilson passed for 208 yards against Michigan in the opener and he burned Utah State for 302 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-26 victory in 2013. The Utes may have enjoyed a lot of past success against Utah State but coach Kyle Whittingham isn’t feeling relaxed about the contest. “It’s been very competitive, I can tell you that, especially of late,” Whittingham said during a press conference. “Our guys look forward to it. We better be at our best if we’re going to have a chance to win this football game.” Aggies senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton passed for 314 yards and two scores in the 2013 contest against the Utes and has thrown 58 career touchdown passes, two shy of the school mark set by Jose Fuentes (1998-2002).
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2.
LINE HISTORY: Books opened the Utes -12 and while they’ve spend a bit of time up around -13.5, they are back down to -12. The total opened at 45.5 and is down to 44.
Utah State – WR Brandon Swindall (Questionable, hamstring), WR Zach Van Leeuwen (Questionable, undisclosed).
Utah – WR Tim Patrick (Questionable, undisclosed), TE Evan Moeai (Out for season, leg).
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the high-70s under clear skies. Wind will blow toward the southeast at around six miles per hour.
ABOUT UTAH STATE (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS, 0-1 O/U): The Aggies’ lone touchdown in their opener was a game-deciding 88-yard punt-return score by junior Andrew Rodriguez as Keeton struggled through a 16-of-33 passing performance for 110 yards and one interception. “When you’re not playing as one heartbeat on offense, it doesn’t look very good,” Utah State coach Matt Wells said in a press conference. “Not all is lost and the sky is not falling by any means, but there is improvement to be made in every position in our meeting room on offense.” The defense is led by two standout linebackers – junior Nick Vigil (13 tackles versus Southern Utah) and senior Kyler Fackrell (two sacks in the opener).
ABOUT UTAH (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS, 0-1 O/U): Senior running back Devontae Booker rushed for 1,512 yards last season but struggled to get loose against Michigan and had 69 yards on 22 attempts. “We expect him to do a better job,” Utes coach Kyle Whittingham said in a press conference. “It wasn’t because of a lack of touches – he had 29 with carries and receptions combined – but we have to do a better job.” Junior nickel back Justin Thomas was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week due to his 55-yard interception return against the Michigan and a defense that includes standout senior middle linebacker Jared Norris will gain another strong player in junior cornerback Dominique Hatfield, who returns from a suspension related to robbery and assault charges during the summer.
* Over is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings.
* Road team is 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 meetings.
* Aggies are 8-1 ATS in their last nine Friday games.
* Utes are 4-1 ATS in their last five vs. MWC.
CONSENSUS: Sixty-five percent are backing the Utes.