Week 10 – Washington State at Utah

Posted Nov 2, 2012

Week 10 Fearless Predictions - Washington State at Utah

Washington State (2-6) at Utah (3-5) Nov. 3, 3:00, Pac-12 Networks

Here's The Deal: Here we go again?

Last season, Utah got off the mat following a 3-4 start to get on a roll and finish with eight wins. The Utes may be prepping to repeat that strong kick in 2012. The Utes played arguably their best game of the season last weekend, hammering Cal, 49-27, in a game that was pegged as a toss-up at kickoff. They got contributions from all three units, lending hope that six wins and a tenth straight bowl game might still be attainable.

Washington State hasn't won a game since Sept. 14, but head coach Mike Leach still has his kids playing hard and with passion. The Cougars were competitive in all but the Oregon game, putting a scare into Stanford at the Farm on Saturday. Everything Leach and his staff do over the next four weeks will be with 2013 in mind, when the program hopes to be more of a factor in the standings.

Why Washington State Might Win: The defense has played surprisingly well for coordinator Mike Breske. And the skittish Utah attack can't be counted on for back-to-back potent outputs.

Oregon being the exception, Wazzu has done a solid job defensively, holding Stanford to just 256 yards last week. Buck Travis Long, LB Daryl Monroe and SS Deone Bucannon have been the catalysts of a try-hard unit that's minimizing damage and big plays. Sure, the Utes scored 49 points on Cal, but they remain last in the Pac-12 in total offense, and being led by erratic true freshman QB Travis Wilson.

Why Utah Might Win: Leach is the coach in Pullman, but the offense is still littered with predecessor Paul Wulff's personnel.

The Cougars are regressing on offense, due in large part to an overmatched O-line that just got done yielding 10 sacks to Stanford. They're averaging only 20 points per game, a number they haven't reached since Sept. 29. A date with NT Star Lotulelei and a physical Utes D-line will be another tough assignment for Wazzu. DE Nate Fakahafua, LB Trevor Reilly and SS Brian Blechen are also capable of getting into the face of QB Jeff Tuel, and forcing him into costly mistakes.

What To Watch Out For: Now that the secret is out, no one left on Utah's schedule may want to kick to Reggie Dunn. The senior wide receiver was one of the heroes of last week's rout of Cal, twice returning kickoffs 100 yards to establish a new school record. Dunn's speed and elusiveness have been neutralized by an ineffective passing game, but give him a seam, and he'll make opposing teams pay with a homerun that changes the tempo of a game.

What Will Happen: Utah has found a little groove. Washington State, on the other hand, just doesn't have the troops to win this game, especially in Salt Lake City. The Utes will grind out yards on the ground with John White in order to keep Wilson from having to do too much with his arm. The defense will more than carry its weight, harassing Tuel all afternoon and pressuring him into errant throws.

CFN Prediction: Utah 28 … Washington State 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Utah -11.5 O/U: 49
Must Watch Rating (5 – The Man With The Iron Fists, 1 – Election coverage until Tuesday morning): 2