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Utah Utes football: U.-Montana State game at a glance

Published: Monday, Aug. 31 2015 5:11 a.m. MDT

Running back #15 John White IV ,right, looks for an opening after getting the ball from Quarterback #3 Jordan Wynn during practice. University of Utah holds practice Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News) Running back #15 John White IV ,right, looks for an opening after getting the ball from Quarterback #3 Jordan Wynn during practice. University of Utah holds practice Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

Montana State at Utah

Thursday, 6 p.m.

Rice-Eccles Stadium (45,017)

FieldTurf

Salt Lake City

TV: KJZZ

Radio: 700 AM

Weather: Mostly sunny, 80 degrees

THE STAKES

For Montana State . . . a victory over the Utes would continue the momentum the Bobcats built last season when they claimed a share of the Big Sky Conference championship.

For Utah . . . the Utes would love to open their Pac-12 era in style. A victory will provide a big boost before Utah's schedule takes a serious climb in terms of degree of difficulty.

THE TRENDS

For Montana State . . . the Bobcats have done well under head coach Rob Ash. They're 29-17 overall after four seasons. MSU is 0-5, however, against the Football Bowl Subdivision.

For Utah . . . the Utes are 31-0 against teams currently in the Big Sky Conference. Utah is seeking its 80th win since 2003 when the Urban Meyer/Kyle Whittingham era got started.

THE EDGE

Montana State will win if . . . the Bobcats are able to find the same formula they used in surprising Colorado 19-10 in 2006. It was the last time Montana State won a season opener on the road. Since 2007, MSU is 16-0 when scoring 30 points or more and 13-0 in games where the defense scores.

Utah will win if . . . the Utes remain focused on the task at hand and not look ahead to big games at USC and BYU. They're heavy favorites to make it 10-0 all-time against the Big Sky's Bobcats. Utah has won three straight season-opening games — prevailing against Michigan, Utah State and Pittsburgh.

PLAYER TO WATCH

JOHN WHITE IV, Utah: The junior college transfer broke from the pack in fall camp to become Utah's No. 1 running back. He'll be making his major college debut in the game.

KEY MATCHUP

JORDAN WYNN, Utah vs. DeNARIUS McGHEE, Montana State: The battle of the quarterbacks should be intriguing. Wynn is coming off of shoulder surgery in December, while McGhee may be the top QB in the Football Championship Subdivision.

INJURY REPORT

MONTANA STATE: None

UTAH: WR Anthony Denham (hamstring) is doubtful.

NEXT UP

Montana State hosts UC Davis on Sept. 10, while Utah opens Pac-12 play the same day at USC (5:30 p.m., Versus).

SCHEDULE

(All times Mountain)

Date....Opponent....Time....(TV)/result

Sept. 1 vs. Montana State 6 p.m. (KJZZ)

Sept. 10 at USC 5:30 p.m. (Versus)

Sept. 17 at BYU 7:15 p.m. (ESPN2)

Oct. 1 Washington TBD (TBD)

Oct. 8 Arizona State TBD (TBD)

Oct. 15 at Pittsburgh TBD (TBD)

Oct. 22 at California TBD (TBD)

Oct. 29 Oregon State TBD (TBD)

Nov. 5 at Arizona TBD (TBD)

Nov. 12 UCLA TBD (TBD)

Nov. 19 at Washington State TBD (TBD)

Nov. 25 Colorado 1:30 p.m. (FSN)

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