No. 14 Utah Football to Open Season Against BYU

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No. 14 Utah Football to Open Season Against BYU

University of Utah junior defensive end Bradlee Anae (6) fired up the team prior to the start of the BYU-Utah Football Game in an NCAA Football game vs. BYU at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday November 24, 2018.(Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

University of Utah junior defensive end Bradlee Anae (6) fired up the team prior to the start of the BYU-Utah Football Game in an NCAA Football game vs. BYU at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday November 24, 2018.(Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

University of Utah junior defensive end Bradlee Anae (6) fired up the team prior to the start of the BYU-Utah Football Game in an NCAA Football game vs. BYU at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday November 24, 2018.(Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

University of Utah junior defensive end Bradlee Anae (6) fired up the team prior to the start of the BYU-Utah Football Game in an NCAA Football game vs. BYU at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday November 24, 2018.(Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sammy Mora

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Football is finally back for the No. 14 ranked University of Utah Football team. The team is set to open the season in Provo for the 122nd meeting between BYU and Utah. Both teams are looking to build on good seasons from last year. This year’s game will also be the first time since 2009 that BYU has faced a ranked opponent the first week of the season. 

Scouting Utah

University of Utah junior defensive tackle Leki Fotu (99) celebrates after sacking Brigham Young University freshman quarterback Zach Wilson (11) during an NCAA Football game at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

The sky’s the limit for the Utah football team this year. The preseason hype is more than ever before with national writers projecting the Utes in the CFB Playoffs facing the likes of Alabama and Clemson. Utah just wrapped up fall camp and resolved a few question marks that were present during spring ball. The team is looking to bounce back after suffering a rough loss to Northwestern in the Holiday Bowl last December. 

The offensive line is set with Johnny Maea at left guard, Darrin Paulo at left tackle, Orlando Umana at center, Braeden Daniels at right tackle and Nick Ford in the right guard position. 

While the kicking game hasn’t been fully solidified, it looks like UCLA transfer Andrew Strauch will be taking the kicks for the team on Aug. 29th. 

The Utah linebacker core looks to also show the fans what they are made of after grad transfer Manny Bowen abruptly departed the program the week before fall camp began. Both Francis Bernard and Devin Lloyd will be filling the shoes left by Chase Hansen and Cody Barton last year. 

Both Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss will make their triumphant return to the Holy War after missing last season’s game with injuries.

Scouting The TDS

The Cougars are coming off a 7-6 season which culminated in a victory against Western Michigan in the Idaho Potato Bowl, 49-18. While the team has key pieces coming back like quarterback Zach Wilson, there are also parts of last year’s team that won’t be on the field this year. 

Brigham Young University vs. The University of Utah at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Defensive end Corbin Kaufusi and linebacker Sione Takitaki won’t be lining up on the BYU defense this season. Both players are making waves with their respective NFL teams. Wide receiver Neil Pau’u also won’t be suiting up for BYU. Pau’u was suspended for the entire 2019 season for a DUI charge that arose in June. 

A new face on the team includes graduate transfer Ty’Son Williams from South Carolina. 

Wilson, who had offseason shoulder surgery will have some familiar faces to throw to in wide receiver Aleva Hifo and tight end Matt Bushman this season. He will also have options in wide receiver Gunner Romney and wide receiver Micah Simon. 

Watch this

Players from both teams are on multiple preseason watch lists: 

Dodd Trophy: Kyle Whittingham

Maxwell Award: Zack Moss

Walter Camp Player of the Year: Zack Moss and Matt Bushman

Bednarik Award: Bradlee Anae and Jaylon Johnson

Lott IMPACT Trophy: Jaylon Johnson

Doak Walker Award: Zack Moss

Outland Trophy: Leki Fotu, John Penisini, Khyiris Tonga and Brady Christensen

Bronko Nagurski Trophy: Bradlee Anae, Jaylon Johnson and Khyiris Tonga

Paul Hornung Award: Britain Covey

AFCA Good Works Team: Terrell Burgess

Wuerffel Trophy: Britain Covey and Uriah Leiataua

John Mackey Award: Cole Fotheringham and Matt Bushman

Jim Thorpe Award: Julian Blackmon, Jaylon Johnson

Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award: Jaylen Dixon

CFPA National Performer of the Year: Zach Wilson

Golden Arm: Tyler Huntley

Where to watch 

The game is set to kick off at 8:15 p.m. on Aug. 29 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN. 

 

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