Word of Utah State's lack of defense at Oregon has made the rounds.

The 22nd-ranked Utes are well aware the nationally ranked Ducks racked up a school-record 688 yards of total offense in last week's 66-24 win over the Aggies.

It hasn't, however, altered Utah's approach to Saturday's "Battle of the Brothers" at Romney Stadium in Logan.

"We've just got to come prepared every weekend," running back Matt Asiata said. "Utah State, obviously, got worked against Oregon. We've just got to prepare well and just hope we can do the same thing as Oregon did."

Asiata expects USU, which gave up 408 yards rushing in Eugene, to make adjustments and knows the Aggies will be pumped up for the rivalry.

Utah quarterback Brian Johnson credits Oregon for much of USU's woes last week. The Ducks, he explained, do a good job and have skilled athletes.

"This game has always been about the players and they have great players to go along with their scheme," Johnson said. "They definitely do a nice job. So we'll see if we can go out and play well against them, too."

Utah's ground game has netted 261 yards in wins over Michigan and UNLV. Asiata tops the team with 111 yards, while Darrell Mack is second with 85.

"It's still very early but so far we like what we've gotten out of our 1-2 punch with Darrell and Matt," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "So far I'd say it's working out as we hoped it would."

The plan is to give each back equal reps, but circumstances such as the length of drives can prevent an exact split in carries.

Things are close, however.

Asiata has 24 runs, thus far, and Mack has 21.

"Each and every game we hope to get 100-plus yards combined from those guys," said Whittingham, who is pleased with how things are working out.

He's not alone. Asiata said that sharing the ball is working out real good.

"It really doesn't matter just as long as we get the win and score," Asiata explained.


Dirk Facer is the Utah football insider for the Bill Riley Show on KALL, 700AM. He can be heard on the show every Thursday.


E-mail: dirk@desnews.com