With Rivalry Week upon us, we thought fans might be interested in pinpointing five Ute players who should be on the Cougars' radar Saturday. Here they are.
Considering all the close games the Utes and Cougars have played lately — 12 of the last 14 have been decided by a touchdown or less — the outcome could rest on the accuracy of the walk-on junior's toe. The Brighton High grad was on the scout team his first two years and won the job over scholarship kicker Nick Marsh this fall. He had a great debut, making three PATs and a pair of field goals from 44 and 37 yards out. He made two PATs last week, but will need to bounce back from the blocked field goal in the final seconds at USC.
So far the Ute running game has struggled to get on track, but White still is averaging 103 yards per game. He has shown an ability to get tough yards inside, but the offensive line hasn't opened up many big holes for him so far this year. At L.A. Harbor College he was the conference player of the year when he ran for 2,527 yards in two years with 41 touchdowns. At 5-foot-9, 190 pounds, he's more of a scatback than Utah's other three runners and if can get loose, it could make a difference in the game.
The former quarterback has quickly become the key player on the defensive side of the ball for the Utes. Last year, he intercepted a pass in his first collegiate game from his strong safety position. He started all 13 games as a true freshman and finished as the third leading tackler and led the team with four interceptions, including one in the BYU game. This year, Blechen has been moved to linebacker and is off to a terrific start. He came up with two interceptions in the win over Montana State and forced a fumble against USC. He is fifth on the team with 13 tackles in two games.
The junior receiver has been the Utes' top playmaker this year with 11 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown last Saturday against USC. Last year he led the receivers with six TD grabs and 660 yards receiving and was second in receptions with 39. He has great hands and good speed and could be a handful for BYU defensive backs on Saturday. Cougar fans may still remember his acrobatic touchdown catch over a BYU defensive back that brought the Utes back into the game in the fourth quarter. As a former quarterback, he's also a threat to throw the ball on an end-around play.
If there's one player who is key to Utah's chances Saturday it's Wynn. He's been the most talked about player on the Ute team in the first two games. His surgically repaired shoulder hasn't looked good so far with his passes looking weak with little velocity and from a low angle that has resulted in several passes being blocked at the line of scrimmage. Still, he has yet to throw an interception this year and has three touchdown passes. He improved to 238 yards against the Trojans from 101 in the first game and has completed 55 percent of his passes. He led the Utes to a comeback win over BYU last year after nearly doing the same as a freshman.