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Utah football: Utes have lost to lower-division football teams before

Published: Sunday, July 5 2015 2:11 a.m. MDT

University of Utah defensive back Sean Smith (left) celebrates with defensive back Brice McCain (right) during the second quarter after gaining possession of the ball as Weber State wide receiver Tim Toone (81) walks away at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 27, 2008.  At half time Utah led 24-7. Photo by Courtney Sargent, Deseret News (COURTNEY SARGENT, ) University of Utah defensive back Sean Smith (left) celebrates with defensive back Brice McCain (right) during the second quarter after gaining possession of the ball as Weber State wide receiver Tim Toone (81) walks away at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 27, 2008. At half time Utah led 24-7. Photo by Courtney Sargent, Deseret News (COURTNEY SARGENT, )

SALT LAKE CITY — Both Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham and athletics director Chris Hill have said that FCS (formerly Division I-AA) schools are likely to be a regular part of Utah football schedules going forward.

Because of the grueling nine-game Pac-12 schedule along with a couple of tough non-league games, one of which will usually be BYU or Utah State, the Utes need a breather on their schedule.

The reality is, the Utes have played relatively few lower-division opponents in the past. Over the past 20 years, the Utes have faced just five FCS opponents and since 1980 the number is just 12.

However, the Utes have played FCS schools for three years running, including Saturday's upcoming game against Weber State at noon at Rice-Eccles Stadium and have Idaho State on the schedule next year and Southern Utah in 2016.

Most folks don’t believe Utah is in danger of losing Saturday afternoon. But the fact is, seven FCS schools upset FBS schools last weekend and the Utes have lost to Big Sky teams twice before in those dozen games since 1980.

While most games with lower-division opponents are similar to last year’s 41-0 win over Northern Colorado or the 45-7 win over Northern Arizona in 2006 or the 66-0 thumping of Idaho State in 1994, the Utes have had their hands full a few times.

Here’s a look at the four most competitive games the Utes have played against lower division schools.

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