SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s lone bye week has come and gone. The Utes are now gearing up for Saturday’s game at Washington State (4 p.m., P12N).
“Well, they’re a very unique offense,” said Utah linebacker Chase Hansen. “You kind of have a whole new game plan a lot of times when you play them because their run game a lot of time is their pass game. They have a lot of quick screens. A lot of stuff that they do is technically a pass, but it’s kind of their run game.”
Preparing for it, thus, is a challenge.
“I think it just changes your keys — kind of where you’re looking — and sometimes it changes personnel,” Hansen continued. “So it just kind of depends.”
Statistically speaking, Utah appears well-equipped to face a Washington State offense that ranks second in the nation in passing with 401.8 yards per game. The Utes top the country in passing yards allowed (93 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (75.62 rating).
In addition, the Cougars average 41.7 points per game, and the Utes are holding opponents to just 12.3 points.
Then there’s the rest factor. Utah is coming off a bye week, and Washington State is back at it following a 39-36 loss at USC on Friday. The Utes looked to capitalize on the additional preparation time.
“We will hone in on Washington State since we have a head start and that is the only team we are concerned with right now,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said last week.
While Whittingham emphasized that the focus would be exclusively on the Cougars, he’s aware of happenings elsewhere as the season progresses. Whittingham noted that the Pac-12 South looks pretty wide open according to early action.
There have been opportunities to check things out.
“Whenever you have a chance to watch a game and look at somebody that is coming up on the schedule, you take a peek if you have the opportunity," he said.
Colorado (3-0, 0-0) and UCLA (0-3, 0-0) also had byes in the Pac-12 South last week. In addition to USC (2-2, 1-1) defeating Washington State, Arizona (2-2, 1-0) prevailed 35-14 at Oregon State, while Arizona State (2-2, 0-1) dropped a 27-20 decision at Washington.
All six teams are in the division play this week, beginning with UCLA and Colorado squaring off Friday night in Boulder. Saturday’s slate features Utah-Washington State, Oregon State at Arizona State, and USC at Arizona.11 comments on this story
EXTRA POINTS: Utah is 10-5 after bye weeks under Whittingham. However, the Utes are just 4-5 in such games since joining the Pac-12 … Washington State has three straight wins inn the series and leads Utah, 8-7 … The Utes are 28-36 all-time in Pac-12 games. They joined the conference in 2011 … Utah was among those “also receiving votes” in this week’s national polls.
Utah (2-1, 0-1) at Washington State (3-1, 0-1)
Martin Stadium — Pullman, Wash.
Saturday, 4 p.m.
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: ESPN 700AM