All five of Utah's teams head out on the road this weekend as the college football season begins winding down. For Southern Utah, it's the final game of 1990, while Weber State and Utah play their second-to-last games. Utah State finishes up against BYU a week later, while the Cougars' regular season doesn't conclude until Dec. 1.
The game of the week will be BYU's contest in Laramie, which will be televised on ESPN. "Maybe this will turn out to be one of those classic games," said Wyoming Coach Paul Roach. Then on the other hand, maybe not.BYU (7-1, 5-0) at Wyoming (9-1, 5-1), 2 p.m. ESPN-TV - The luster was lost from this game a bit when the Cowboys were upset by Colorado State last week. Still, the
game is basically for the WAC championship.
If the Cowboys win and beat Hawaii the following week, they would get the berth in the Holiday Bowl. BYU goes to the Holiday Bowl with a win Saturday and one in their last two games.
Coach LaVell Edwards said last week's easy win over Air Force was "as well as we've played all year. Our defense was outstanding right from the start."
As for this week's game, Edwards said, "Wyoming will be a different kind of a game for us. They have as good a pass rush as we'll see this year. (Defensive end) Mitch Donahue is one of the premier football players in the country."
Wyoming's Roach calls the game "a difficult task" and says BYU is better than any Cougar team he's seen in the last four years. "They have a great quarterback, their defense is better and they are solid up front. They have a really good football team."
The weather forecast, according to Raoch is for clear skies and a temperature of around 50 degrees. Edwards isn't worried, regardless. "Only a couple of times has the weather been a problem for us over there," he said.
Utah (3-6, 1-5) at New Mexico (2-8, 1-4), Noon - Ever since Mike Sheppard came to New Mexico three years ago, the Lobos have given the Utes a good game only to lose. There was a 24-20 loss in Salt Lake in 1987, a 33-27 defeat in Albuquerque in '88 and a 41-39 loss last year, on a last-second field goal by Wayne Lammle.
The two teams should be fairly evenly matched again this year. Both have had their up moments, but both have been on the wrong end of blowouts, especially lately.
Also both squads are experiencing quarterback problems. Utah has been alternating between Mike Richmond and Jason Woods all year. The Lobos have relied on Jeremy Leach for the last three years, but Sheppard is apparently getting impatient with his inconsistent performances. Last week he used both Leach and Marcus Goodloe with Leach going 10 for 27 for 114 yards and Goodloe completing 9 of 13 for 125 yards.
When asked if he might change quarterbacks this week Sheppard didn't reply. When pressed, he said, "Yes, one's left-handed and one's right-handed."
Utah's Ron McBride is strangely upbeat despite two straight blowouts. "I'm not down at all. I'm probably happier than any time since I've been here. I know what I have to do. All this stuff is bringing us closer together."
Utah State (3-4-1, 3-1-1) at Cal State Fullerton (1-9, 0-5), 2 p.m. MST - The Aggies haven't won at Fullerton in eight years, a point that Chuck Shelton is well aware of.
"I don't know what the problems are," he said. "We've tried everything. It's not as if it's old home week for our players because most of them are from northern California. So that shouldn't be a distraction. But remember, Gene Murphy is something like 20-5 at that stadium."
If there was ever a year to beat the Titans on the road, this should be the one. The Aggies are playing as well as they ever have in Chuck Shelton's five years, while the Titans are having one of their worst seasons with nine straight losses.
USU running back Roger Grant has a chance to become the first Aggie back since Rick Parros in 1979 to rush for more than 1,000 yards. With 951 and three games to go, he could come close to Louis Giammona's 1534-yard mark set in 1974.
Weber State (4-5, 3-4) at Northern Arizona (4-5, 2-5) - The Wildcats will be trying to win at Flagstaff for the first time since 1972 as they come back after a week off.
Coach Dave Arslanian said he likes playing in the Walkup Dome. "At least it will ideal weather conditions for (quarterback) Jamie Martin" said Arslanian.
The Wildcats' hopes for a .500 or better season rest with this game and the season finale the following week at McNeese State.
Southern Utah (6-4, 2-2) at Portland State (5-5, 1-3), 2 p.m. MST - The T-Birds conclude their season on the road against a struggling Portland State squad. Although picked to win the WFC in preseason, the Vikings have lost five of their last seven.
"Portland State is a good football team," said Jack Bishop. "Everybody says they are down a bit, but it doesn't appear that way in talent. They are going to be a tough game for us. They are always tough at Portland."