Weber State was great last year, and it should be even stronger this season.
The team that won 11 games and went deep into the FCS playoffs has just enough talent on both sides of the ball to push a Utah team that needs to get everything together against the Wildcats, and then against Northern Illinois before diving into Pac-12 play against Washington.
This should be a very good, very sound Ute team with the potential to stay in the Pac-12 South title hunt until the end. This is the game to show it.
One Reason Why Weber State Will Win
The Wildcats have the special teams chops to match up with the Utes.
The third phase might not seem like that big a deal, but Utah has to take advantage of its amazing kicking game to be the difference in tight games. However, in PK Trey Tuttle and kick returner Rashid Shaheed, Weber State will be solid here.
But the key to the Wildcats last season was a defense that was among the best in the FCS at taking the ball away and coming up with the really big plays when it absolutely had to. To pull this off, they have to be at least +2 in turnover margin, be great on third downs, and do everything else right.
They have the running game thanks to RB Treshawn Garrett working behind all-star FB Brady May, and they have the run defense to hold up against the physical Utes.
One Reason Why Utah Will Win
Weber State will be thrown on.
The secondary was okay throughout last season – it was 13th in the nation in pass efficiency D thanks to all of the interceptions – but it’s a rebuilding job this year.
Utah’s passing attack should be a little bit sharper, a little bit more efficient, and a little bit more explosive. Five of the top six receivers are back, and QB Tyler Huntley should be able to spread the ball around a bit.
And on the flip side, yes, Weber State should be able to match Utah when it comes to the special teams side, but the Wildcats have to own that part of the game, and they won’t. No one has a better kicking tandem than Utah PK Matt Gay and P Mitch Wisnowsky.
What’s Going To Happen
Weber State is the perfect first game for the Utes. It’s not going to be a totally light and fluffy scrimmage, but there shouldn’t be too many problems pulling away for a win thanks to a balanced offense and a renewed emphasis on getting the defense into the backfield.
Utah will have to try, Huntley can’t make a slew of massive mistakes, and Weber State can’t be allowed to think they have a chance in this deep into the second half. Give it about 20 minutes or so of game time, and then the Utah passing game will kick it all in.
The D will take care of the rest.