Utah Football: Does Utes Have What It Takes To Slow Down The SDSU Running Game?
As the state of San Diego welcomes Utah this weekend, the Aztecs are not intimidated by the Utes’ membership in the Pac-12 or their Power Five label.
Since 2016, the SDSU has set a 6-2 record against Pac-12 opponents, with wins over Cal, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona State (twice) and Arizona’s 38-14 humping in Tucson last week.
The Aztecs will look to continue their success against the Pac-12 Saturday (5 p.m. MDT, CSBSN) when they take on the Utes at Dignity Health Sports Park.
“We’re not buying into Power Five. We’re just trying to stick to our tradition, ”said SDSU Safety Cedarious Barfield. “What we want to do now is keep this up and be able to move on and show future Aztecs that we can play with whoever. Our motto is to play hard and physically. “
Utah (1-1) wasn’t as physical as BYU in their 26-17 defeat in Provo last week. The Utes surrendered 219 yards to the Cougars.
SDSU (2-0) is a physical team that can run the ball.
“You are a strong team. They ran the ball 55 times in one of their first two games. They’re much more involved in running, ”said coach Kyle Whittingham. “They hang their hat on it. They have a whole stable of running backs who are excellent. The line is physical. That is their # 1 priority – establishing a running game.
“That presents us with a big problem. It was impressive to see this tape and how it works. They have three good backs and a quarterback who is a great lead on this offensive, ”Whittingham continued. “They have a couple of tight ends that they like and a couple of receivers who are playmakers. The line of scrimmage is physical. We will see an offensive line as physical as last week. We have to move up and play a lot better. “
Last week, SDSU running back Greg Bell won a Nebraska transfer 125 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, while quarterback Jordan Brookshire made 10 of 14 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns.
“You have a great O-line. You are really strong in the running game. You’re physically up front and have a great group of running backs, ”said Devin Lloyd, Utah linebacker. “You have a lot of plans. It’s going to be a challenge in the trenches, but this game will amount to winning the line of scrimmage. “
Colton Swan, the Utah linebackers coach, is also impressed with the San Diego state’s offensive.
“A really good, well-trained offensive. Lots of different looks. Run-and-pass game complications. You’re trying to do a number of things that are going to be tough on the linebackers, ”he said. “You will demand physical play from our defense. We have to do a good job of stepping up and making sure we are up for the challenge. “
SDSU trainer Brady Hoke has great respect for Whittingham and the Utes.
“The opponent speaks for itself. They are a physical soccer team. Kyle did a great job. We have to get ready, ”said Hoke. “When I played Utah at Mountain West, I always respected Kyle. He’s a defensive guy. When you watch her defense, her physicality, you know you will come from the front on either side of the ball.
“With (offensive coordinator Andy) Ludwig he has an insight into our defensive point of view. It’s a ball game where we have to be a little different in some ways. But we also have to do what we do best. “
Against SDSU, the Wildcats only turned one of 13 third-down opportunities. Utah only converted two out of nine against BYU.
Despite his team’s strong start to the season, Hoke wants to see an improvement this week. The Aztecs, for example, handed down eight sentences against Arizona.
“I said to the team on Monday, ‘We need to be calm about ourselves. We need to have some discipline with us, ”he said. “We still have to play on the sidelines, but not hurt the football team. … We have tough opponents. We have to play a lot better as a football team this week than we did last week. “
SDSU is also suspicious of Utah quarterback Charlie Brewer.
“He throws the ball well. … He’s doing a great job. If you watch him set his feet and throw him, you can tell he’s been very experienced, ”said Hoke. “He’s athletic enough to lengthen the bag and move things. He has a strong arm. He has a really good hand. “
“You’re a bit like our team. They are very physical and want to go after you. Charlie Brewer, we have a lot of respect for him because he’s from Baylor, ”Barfield said. “He’s a great quarterback. They will try to attack us. We have to stick together and trust each other. “
Brewer knows the SDSU will be a challenge to Utah’s offensive.
“You are really good. You play very well in defense, ”said Brewer. “You did pretty badly in Arizona. We have to play a lot better than last week. “
The Utes will try to ensure that the Aztecs’ winning streak against the Pac-12 takes a detour on Saturday.