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.

Montana State at Utah

Thursday, 6 p.m.

Rice-Eccles Stadium (45,017)


Salt Lake City


Radio: 700 AM

Weather: Mostly sunny, 80 degrees


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



UTAH: WR Anthony Denham (hamstring) is doubtful.


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


(All times Mountain)


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)