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ASU Football Opponent Primer: Utah Utes

Pac-12 favorites

Utah v Arizona State Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Arizona State 2019 Schedule

Kent State (Aug. 29) - Read

Sacramento State (Sept. 6) - Read

At Michigan State (Sept. 14) - Read

Colorado (Sept. 21) - Read

At Cal (Sept. 27) - Read

Washington State (Oct. 12) - Read

At Utah (Oct. 19)

At UCLA (Oct. 26)

USC (Nov. 9)

At Oregon State (Nov. 16)

Oregon (Nov. 23)

Arizona (Nov. 30)

This squad from Salt Lake City isn’t entering what some would call a rebuilding year. All the pieces seem to be coming together this year for the Utah Utes; Head Coach Kyle Wittingham is ready to reap the seeds he sows, the fruits of his… any idioms work, really.

Everything is falling into place. Returning will be senior quarterback Tyler Huntley, senior running back Zack Moss and junior wide receiver Britain Covey, all of whom lead their respective positional categories for the team last year.

With nine returning lettermen, the receivers are the deepest point of the Utes. When the six-foot-eight, top-300, four-star recruit decommitted from Utah to sign with Snow College, the focus shifted back to junior Britain Covey, who led the team in receiving yards in 2015 and 2018. Sophomore Jaylen Dixon, who PFF graded fourth among true freshman WRs last year, will look to build on a 589-yard season.

If there’s one soft spot on this team, it lays in the offensive trenches. Only two starters will return on the offensive line, senior Darrin Paulo and junior Orlando Umana; both of whom are expected to move from their original positions. The three other spots on the line are up for grabs. On the opposite side of the ball, junior cornerback Jaylon Johnson will return after a team-high four interception season.

Senior Bradlee Anae will likely anchor the defensive line – he posted eight sacks last season for a team best. The team’s 4-3 defense will provide a challenge for Sun Devil junior RB Eno Benjamin, with senior DT Leki Fotu standing at 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds according to the team’s website.

While a deep receiving corps and seasoned defensive line will likely characterize this team, the true star will be Zack Moss. The running back saw his name inscribed on several preseason watchlists, including the Maxwell (America’s College Player of the Year), Walter Camp (Player of the Year) and Doak Walker (Running Back). The hard-hitting back will be a challenge for the Sun Devil secondary.

The Utah Utes ended their 2018 campaign with a 31-20 loss to Northwestern in the Holiday Bowl, boasting a 9-4 record. In a tightly-contested Pac-12 South, the battle between Utah and Arizona State will be consequencial for the race to the top.