We spoke Block U co-managing editor Shane Roberts to get a more in-depth look at the Utes. He provides a preview of the Utes’ defense, offense and quarterback situation. Also, he give not one, but two score predictions.
Check out his responses:
Who will start for the Utes on Saturday, Tyler Huntley or Troy Williams? Who do you think is better between the two? Why?
Roberts: My money is on Troy Williams, because I’m not sure Huntley is healthy enough just yet. I think he’s close, but they may give him another week. With that said, Huntley is the better player. He’s very dynamic and the field really opens up with him behind center. His ability to extend plays with his legs, combined with his running ability and accuracy, he’s beyond dangerous. I think Utah is undefeated right now if he didn’t get hurt. Williams is very solid, but he’s streaky, which means the offense will grind to a halt at times.
What did you think of going for the 2-point conversion against USC? Obviously it turned out ugly, but what was your reaction before the play? Is it best to go for it and win than tie?
Roberts: I loved it. Utah had a ton of momentum on offense, the defense was pretty winded, and Utah had a lot of success on USC most of the night. The play was there to be made too. As you can ask any Utah fan, Darren Carrington was WIDE OPEN in the back of the end zone, but Williams didn’t see him and attempted to take it in himself. The going for 2 thing is tricky, because it depends on the game and matchup, but in that situation, I was all about going for 2.
Utah was third in the Pac-12 rushing offense behind Joe Williams last season, but has Zack Moss filled in well. Will the Utes run or pass more on Saturday night?
Roberts: Moss has started slowly, but has caught on well the past couple of weeks, especially against USC, where he had over 100 yards before halftime. That’s a similar story as last season, where Utah’s rushing attach took about 5 weeks to really get going. As for the balance, I think we’ll be close to 50/50, it depends on what ASU gives Utah. Utah will chuck it all over the field if it’s there, but they’ll also feed Moss and Devonta’e Henry-Cole if they’re getting a good push.
Sunia Tauteoli looks like the ring leader of the Ute's stellar defense (allowed 20 points per game), why is he so productive and who else on the Utah defense must the Sun Devils watch?
Roberts: He’s just a very instinctive line backer, but it all starts up front. Utah has one of the best defensive lines in the country, and it’s very deep, so pick a name on that unit to watch. Kavika Luafatasaga at linebacker is an animal, and is so fun to watch. The secondary is very young but dripping with talent. Jaylon Johnson at corner is a true freshman and has been targeted very few times this year. Chase Hansen, Marquise Blair and Corrion Ballard are all hard hitters at safety — especially Blair, he’s an animal. I love this defensive unit.
It looks like Darren Carrington is probable for Saturday. Huntley is banged up and Chase Hansen is questionable. How badly are these injuries effecting the Utes? Who is back Saturday? Who won't be?
Roberts: It’s very hampering, especially Huntley. Like I previously said, I think Utah is 6-0 right now with Huntley, because of how dynamic he is on offense. Some have compared him to a young Lamar Jackson. Utah should have almost everyone back, but the question is Huntley, I think it’s 50/50 at best we see him. Starting defensive ends Kylie Fitts and Brandlee Anae should hopefully be back and close to 100%, so should Hansen. Carrington will go, but I’m not sure about the other primary wide out Raelon Singleton. He hurt his shoulder in the USC game.
What is your score prediction?
Roberts: I’m taking Utah 27-21 - if Huntley plays and is healthy, Utah 37-21.