Utah heads north to take on in-state foe Utah State Friday night, in one of the most played games in college football history. This will be the 110th meeting between the two teams. Utah has owned the series lately, winning the last 12 games and 20 of the last 22.
Utah State (1-0) opened the season with a win against a solid FCS team in Southern Utah, defeating the Thunderbirds 34-3. Utah State controlled the game from beginning to end, and looked good on both sides of the football. Head coach Gary Andersen appears to have the program headed in the right direction after leading the Aggies to their first bowl game since 1997. Utah State is looking to improve on their 7-6 record from a year ago and compete for the WAC title. Utah State presents many different looks on both sides of the football, and will be a great test for Utah in the second game of the season. Utah State's offense had several impressive drives against Southern Utah, including two drives of over 95 yards.
Utah (1-0) had a convincing final score in their season opener, defeating Northern Colorado 41-0. Utah's offense struggled early before blowing the game open in the second quarter. Utah played rather vanilla schemes on both sides of the ball and will look to open up the playbook against Utah State.
Utah State's offense is difficult to define, because the Aggies incorporate so many different styles into one offense. In addition to utilizing many different formations, alignments, and personnel groupings, the Aggies also mix together various styles and concepts. Utah State will run the option out of almost any formation, while throwing in Pistol concepts along with some things you might consider West Coast, Air Raid, and Spread. Though this mix is designed to confuse and attack a defense, it is all grounded in one main point: Utah State wants to run the football. In Gary Andersen's previous three seasons at Utah State, the Aggies have been a run-oriented team, and have become even more so the more success they have seen. Utah State ran the football over 68% of the time a season ago, and ran the ball two out of every three plays in their opener against Southern Utah.