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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Ute defense-Aztec offense could be focal point of the game

Much of the focus of this week’s game between the U football team and San Diego State Aztecs has been placed on the staunch Aztec defense and the prolific Ute offense.

However, the match-up between the Ute defense and the Aztec offense may prove to be the most integral part of the game.

The Aztecs haven’t had the season they were expecting and are out of the conference championship race. But that doesn’t mean the Utes aren’t worried.

“Coach Sanford thinks they are the best defense we will play all year,” U football coach Urban Meyer said.

The Aztec defense has proven its worth with stellar play all season long; however, the offense has grossly lagged behind.

“Anytime you have a transition where you have a freshman quarterback and you don’t have your best tailback playing, then it’s going to be tough,” Meyer said.

Aztec quarterback Kevin O’Connell started for the first time in his career last week against New Mexico. O’Connell finished the game 16-of-32 for 165 yards.

San Diego State only scored nine points last week and this week might prove to be even more difficult.

“I have always been respectful of the job they have done defensively and Kyle Whittingham has done a great job,” Aztec head coach Tom Kraft said. “They always play well.”

Not only did the Aztec offense put up a meager 146 yards of total offense, but the pass protection was atrocious, as the Lobos sacked O’Connell six times.

The disparity in experience of the Aztec offense compared to the Ute defense is more then substantial.

“It was really tough because we had to play nine freshmen on offense,” Kraft said. “Not all of them were starting, but at this point in the season, we are at a position, where have to play them.”

Expect the blitzes to be coming more than often, especially from the defensive backfield.

The only chink in the armor for the Ute defense this week is the loss of defensive tackle Sione Pouha, who suffered a sprained MCL.

Even though Pouha anchors the defensive line along with Steve Fifita, the Utes should be able to manage since the Aztecs are starting a freshman running back in Brandon Bornes.

Bornes only averaged 2 yards per carry last weekend and the Utes should be able to get in the backfield, considering the horrid play of the Aztec offensive line.

The potential for disaster for the Aztec offense and a breakout game for the Ute defense is high and it should play an instrumental role in the outcome of Saturday’s game.

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