UTAH (3-1, 1-1) AT NORTH CAROLINA (1-2, 1-1)
Today, 11:30 a.m.
Kenan Stadium TV: Ch. 14 Radio: 700AM
Last week: Utah defeated Air Force 38-35 at home on Thursday; North Carolina prevailed 31-24 at rival North Carolina State last Saturday.
Last meeting: The Utes defeated the Tar Heels 46-16 in 2004 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Trends to watch: Both teams are on one-game winning streaks . . . Utah has outscored opponents 103-62 over the first three quarters this season. The fourth quarter, however, is a different story. The Utes have been outscored 21-10 . . . North Carolina has logged 10 sacks over the past two games.
Players to watch: Utah quarterback Brian Johnson leads the Mountain West Conference with a pass efficiency rating of 154.17. North Carolina return specialists Mike Mason (kickoffs) and Brandon Tate (punts) are among the best in the country.
Utah will win if . . . The Utes learned a lesson against Air Force and play hard until the final horn. Utah's defense needs to step its game up a notch or two to better complement the offense. Special teams success is crucial since it's an aspect where UNC has a lot of athleticism.
North Carolina will win if . . . The Tar Heels can successfully blend a revenge factor from last season's game with homefield advantage this time around. A battle will rage in the trenches if UNC's athletic and quick defensive front is able to consistently penetrate Utah's offensive line.
Extra points: This is just the second meeting between Utah and North Carolina . . . The Utes are 199-222-13 all-time on the road . . . All-American candidate Steve Fifita will be making his 29th consecutive start on the defensive line. The Utes are 25-3, thus far, in the stretch . . . UNC punter David Woolridge is 24th in the nation with a 42.67 yards-per-kick average . . . Humidity may not be a factor as mild conditions greeted Utah's arrival . . . The Utes visit Colorado State next week, while the Tar Heels travel to Louisville.
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