UteNation - Position Battles: Utah at Oregon State
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Position Battles: Utah at Oregon State


The University of Utah (4-2 overall, 3-0 Pac-12) will take on the Oregon State Beavers (4-2 overall, 2-1 Pac-12) at Reser Stadium tonight at 5:30 MST on the Pac-12 Network. Both teams lead their respective Pac-12 divisions, but the visiting Utes head into the game a slight betting favorite.


Here are the position battles for the game:


POSITION BATTLES 
Utah Position  OSU

Edge

Quarterback

Running Backs

Edge

Tie

Wide Receivers

Tie

Edge

Tight Ends

Offensive Line

Edge

Edge

Defensive Line


Edge

Linebackers


Edge

Secondary

Special Teams

Edge


Quarterback

In three games and one quarter, Utah’s Cam Rising has the same amount of touchdown passes as Oregon State’s a Chance Nolan. Rising also had two rushing touchdowns. The Utah offense has transformed into a dynamic and dangerous group under Rising. There’s really no argument that can be made in favor of Nolan. Rising is arguably playing like a top five quarterback in the country, right now.


Running Backs

Utah has the better stable of running backs, but Oregon State has the workhorse in BJ Baylor. While it’s important to note Tavion Thomas’ ball security improvement, Baylor has had a better year. Both Micah Bernard and TJ Pledger are great complimentary backs to Thomas and both capable of big games.


Wide Receivers

The quarterback change for Utah has made all the difference, as the Utes receivers are a completely different and potent group—especially Devaughn Vele. While Oregon State focuses more on the run, they guys have made plays when they’ve needed to. The Beavers are led by Trevon Bradford and Tyjon Lindsey.


Tight Ends

There’s no debate who the better group is here. Utah’s three tight ends—Kuithe, Fotheringham, and Kincaid—have to be accounted for at all times and are all capable of big plays. Oregon State’s tight ends are mostly utilized in run blocking situations.


Offensive Line

Utah’s line has improved ever since Rising became the starting quarterback, but they still have plenty of room for improvement. Oregon State’s line has been a steady presence all year for one of the better running backs in the country.


Defensive Line

Oregon State’s James Rawls and Cody Anderson both do a good job applying pressure in the backfield—and are allowing only 104 rushing yards per game—but Utah’s defensive line is starting to perform how everyone is used to again. Both Mika Tafua and Van Fillinger have stepped up after early season containment issues. After the early season-ending injury to Viane Moala, the defensive tackles have really settled in with Hauati Pututau and freshman Junior Tafuna.


Linebackers

Utah is loaded at this position, whereas the Beavers don’t really have any standouts. Devin Lloyd, Nephi Sewell, and Karene Reid have all had dominant performances throughout the season. Additionally, Jonah Elliss for Utah, who could emerge more and more, had an important fumble recovery against Arizona State.


Secondary

Oregon State is giving up 276.5 yards passing per game. Utah has had to deal with a bunch of injuries in the last few weeks, but the backups have played well for the most part.


Special Teams

Britain Covey gives Utah the edge in the return game, as he’s nearly doubled the Beavers’ punt return average. The kicking game is where Utah has struggled, between punting and placekicking.