By Samuel Curry
The Stanford Daily (TSD): Sophomore quarterback Tyler Huntley went down with an injury two weeks ago against Arizona, but senior Troy Williams stepped in to lead the Utes to the victory. If Huntley isn’t back this Saturday, what changes for the Utes with Williams leading the offense?
Brittni Colindres (BC): If Huntley isn’t back this Saturday, I don’t expect to see many changes for Utah with Williams leading the offense. One things that stands out to me is that Huntley has shown off his dual threat abilities this season, and he isn’t afraid to run or throw the ball, but Williams on the other hand seems to be more confident in throwing the ball than running it.
That difference between the two players could play a factor in the game, but at the same time, Williams led Utah to nine wins this past season as the starting quarterback. It’s a new offensive look with offensive coordinator Troy Taylor running things, but Williams is comfortable in the spotlight, and he is capable of taking charge and directing the offense — he has done it before.
TSD: Utah has been solid on defense this season, ranking 17th nationally in total yards allowed per game and 10th in rushing yards allowed per game. Stanford junior Bryce Love is averaging just under 218 yards on the ground per game. Can the Utes contain Love?
BC: I believe Bryce Love will be the biggest challenge for the Utes on Saturday night, but I do think they can slow him down. Love’s explosive, athletic and dominates the ground with over 1,000 yards on the season already, but Utah’s defense — in particular, its secondary — has had a strong start to its season, and I don’t see that position group tumbling when Love enters the mix.
Cornerbacks Julian Blackmon, Jaylon Johnson as well as Casey Hughes will be Utes to keep an eye on.
TSD: Utah remains the only unbeaten team in the Pac-12 South; however, their schedule thus far has been labeled by some as soft. Are the Utes truly built to compete for a Pac-12 title this season?
BC: I definitely think that Utah has a shot at competing for the Pac-12 title this season because they are chuck full of talent. One major addition to the Utes this season has been wide receiver Darren Carrington II, a graduate transfer from Oregon. With three 100-yard games this year (North Dakota, BYU and San Jose State) he is showing what kind of impact he can have on the offensive side of the ball, and that’s a big plus.
The Utes got off on the right foot, winning all four of their games to remain undefeated on their season, while also taking over as the South division leader, but they haven’t truly been tested yet. As Pac-12 play continues to roll along, it’ll be interesting to watch how Utah responds since it hasn’t faced four incredibly tough opponents thus far. That being said, the Utes however do have that talent and depth, something that’s needed to compete for a Pac-12 title.
Contact Sam Curry at currys ‘at’ stanford.edu.