TONIGHT Week 2 - Utah at Utah State
Posted Sep 6, 2012

Week 2 CFN Fearless Prediction – Utah at Utah State

- CFN Fearless Predictions

Utah (1-0) at Utah State (1-0) Sept. 7, 8:00, ESPN2

Here's The Deal: Separated by just 90 miles, Utah and Utah State have been participating in one of the longest-standing rivalries in college football since it began in 1892. And with no guarantee that the series will survive beyond the end of the current contract in 2015, this Friday's game in Logan promises to be steeped in even more excitement and anticipation than usual. The Aggies, long on the short end of the rivalry, have finally begun to narrow the divide on their cross-state foe. Utah State is coming off a breakout year for head coach Gary Andersen, a former Ute assistant, and is one of the WAC favorites for 2012. It opened last Thursday with a comfortable win over Southern Utah. The Utes are the big brother in the series, but will need to remain their edge and focus at Romney Stadium. They, too, cut their teeth on an FCS visitor last Thursday, blanking Northern Colorado, 41-0.

Why Utah Might Win: The Utes will look to make the most of their advantage at the point of attack, playing smash-mouth football with a vulnerable Utah State front seven. Utah averages more than 300 pounds along the offensive line, providing the push that RB John White needs to quickly get past the first level and into the defensive backfield. When White is running up to his potential, it creates opportunities for veteran QB Jordan Wynn to pick apart defenses with his accurate throws. DeVonte Christopher and Dres Anderson can stretch a secondary, creating tons of space underneath for sure-handed TE Jake Murphy.

Why Utah State Might Win: Utah has a solid defense, but it'll spend the next two weeks without one of its key players, suspended S Brian Blechen. The Aggies are led by a very special player behind center, sophomore Chuckie Keeton. He's a sparkplug-type quarterback in the mold of a young Russell Wilson, who makes everyone around him better, and gets the crowd involved in the action. In his return from injury, he went 22-of-25 for 304 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. Sophomore RB Joe Hill looks like a keep in Logan, taking flight with 116 yards and three scores on only 11 carries.

What To Watch Out For: Easily the best matchup of the game will occur when Utah All-American NT Star Lotulelei is locked up with Utah State C Tyler Larsen, a returning conference all-star. Larsen isn't going to completely neutralize powerful No. 92, but he will have to keep him from blowing up the Aggies offensive gameplan. Keeton is the undisputed key that could unlock the upset for Utah State. If he's being rushed, or if Hill and Kerwynn Williams are absorbing contact behind the line, the odds of an Aggies win goes down in a hurry.

What Will Happen: Purely in terms of drama and excitement, Utah and Utah State are capable of staging one of the most exciting fourth quarters of Week 2. The Aggies will feed off the energy of the home crowd, and feed off its own desire to upend a hated rival. Led by the heroics of Keeton, they'll go stride for stride with their visitors from Salt Lake City. However, White will save the day for the Utes, earning game MVP honors with a monster day on the ground, including the game-winning score in the waning moments.

CFN Prediction: Utah 31 … Utah State 30
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Utah -7.5 O/U: 52.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Phineas & Ferb, 1 – Steve Harvey): 2