UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | January 26, 2023

Jordan’s Picks: Wilson gives Utes edge in rivalry game

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Week four of college football looks to be a good one for a huge rivalry in Utah.

The Holy War rivalry between Brigham Young University and the University of Utah has been going since 1896 and hasn’t had any breaks since the 1940s. This edition of the Holy War will be the last until 2016 because of conference changes in 2011.

Utah played against Oregon State University last week and lost 51-48 in overtime. In that game, we learned that Utah’s secondary is the weak point of the team, allowing 443 passing yards against OSU.

BYU had a bye last week but played No. 15 University of Texas in week two and shocked the nation with a 40-21 win. BYU rushed for 550 yards in the game and passed for only 129 yards.

Both Utah and BYU have some of the toughest schedules in college football, and both teams are just fighting to be relevant in a changing game.

Utah’s defense has only allowed 97 rushing yards per game. BYU is No. 2 in the nation in rushing yards per game with 368.5 yards per game. Utah rushes for 248.7 yards per game, and BYU’s defense only allows 120.5 rushing yards per game.

On rushing, it looks as if this could be a hard fought game in the trenches. Both defenses are strong against the run, which could result in a low-scoring game given the amount of times both teams run the ball.

BYU gets the edge on running because of sophomore running back Jamaal Williams, who has averaged 163 yards per game.

Passing has definitely been a weak point for BYU in its two games, but Utah’s secondary is terrible and hasn’t shown much improvement. Utah’s passing is a big part of its game plan, but BYU’s secondary is much better.

The edge on passing easily goes to the Utes due to the fact they actually attempt and complete passes throughout their games. If BYU starts hitting its targets while passing, Utah could be in trouble.

The two quarterbacks are completely different in style of play.

Utah sophomore quarterback Travis Wilson is more of a pocket passer-type quarterback. He is more prone to run through the progression of receivers than instantly scramble and run. 

BYU sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill has struggled passing in his two games this season, only completing a third of his passes. He seems to have found his game as a one-read type quarterback. Which means he drops back to pass and watches one receiver on any particular play, and if that receiver doesn’t get open, he will just run the ball. He didn’t do it in BYU’s loss to the University of Virginia in week one but executed it well in the win against Texas in week two.

The surprise similarity is in the two quarterbacks’ running game.

Hill had a huge rushing game against Texas in week two, rushing for 257 yards. Hill didn’t have any trouble finding the gaps in the Longhorn defense, which could be a problem for the Utes.

Wilson, on the other hand, has quietly become Utah’s leading rusher, rushing for 244 yards on only 24 carries. The monster 6-foot-6-inch quarterback is surprisingly agile for his size. He outran some cornerbacks and safeties in the week three loss to Oregon State.

I have to give Utah the edge in quarterback because Wilson can both run and pass, while Hill has struggled with his passing game. Hill dominates in the run, but Wilson has showed he can do both solidly.

Overall, I will have to give Utah the edge based on passing ability. It’s not easy to win when your team is one-dimensional, and that is what BYU has right now. Utah’s run defense is better than BYU’s secondary, so that is another plus for Utah.

This game will be tight throughout the first three quarters, but then Utah will get a two-possession lead in the fourth and won’t look back.

Agree or disagree? Let me know on Twitter at @JAbel_News, or leave me a comment at www.dixiesunnews.com.