After getting off to a 4-0 start to the 2017 season, the Utah Utes have dropped two straight contests: the first to Stanford, and the second came last week in Los Angeles against USC.
With wins in back-to-back seasons against Arizona State, the Utes (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) will look to get back on track this weekend as they are set to host the Sun Devils (3-3, 2-1 Pac-12) on Saturday afternoon.
A team that prides itself on its defense, Utah has allowed an average of just 20 points per game with no opponent having scored more than 30 to this point.
Coming off of what was a heartbreaking loss 28-27 to USC, here are some Utes to keep an eye on Saturday:
Troy Williams – Senior QB
It has been an up and down year for Troy Williams, as the reigning starter last season lost his job to sophomore Tyler Huntley to begin the season. But since the injury of Huntley against the University of Arizona, Williams has taken back over at the helm. Although he led them to a victory in that first game against the Wildcats, the last two have been different stories. Williams has completed just 52.9 percent of his passes for two touchdowns and three interceptions. All that being said, the threat that Williams brings still has to be on the radar for the ASU defense. In last year’s contest, Williams threw for 296 yards and four touchdowns against the Sun Devils, so they will have to keep a close eye on him if the defense wants a repeat of last week’s excellent performance against Jake Browning and the Washington Huskies.
Darren Carrington II – Senior WR
This name may sound familiar to Sun Devil fans, but maybe not so much in relation to Utah. That’s because Carrington transferred to Utah this year from Oregon where he spent the last three seasons racking up at least 30 receptions, 600 yards, and four touchdowns each year. The change of scenery has been all that has changed for the San Diego native as he already has 39 receptions for 593 yards and five touchdowns. AS the preferred target for Huntley early on in the season, his numbers have dropped off a little bit since week four, but even still, the ASU secondary will have its hands full trying to contain him. Over his collegiate career, Carrington has faced ASU two times and has a combined 11 receptions for 181 yards and one touchdown. Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett will need to make sure his secondary is up to the task or else Williams and Carrington could make them pay.
Sunia Tauteoli – Senior LB
The aforementioned Utah defense has dominated so far this season and yet it’s hard to pinpoint one or two guys that are making it all happen. That only proves that this defense has depth and can hurt you in a number of ways. One standout in particular; however, is veteran linebacker Sunia Tauteoli. The Salt Lake City native leads the team in both total tackles and tackles for loss with 42 and 7.5 respectively. Tauteoli also has an interception on the season. Already nearing his total tackles from last season, the Sun Devil offensive line will need to make sure they know where he is at all times or he could make life very hard on Manny Wilkins and the ASU offense.
Anytime anyone marches into Salt Lake City looking for a win it’s tough, but coming off back-to-back losses while the Sun Devils come in with a full head of steam could make this an interesting matchup.
The Utes have won two straight in this series and the Sun Devils will look to end that this Saturday. These are just a few of the guys they’ll have to keep an eye on if they intend to do so.