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Week 3 Pac-12 - Oregon State at Utah & More
Posted Sep 12, 2013

Week 3 Fearless Predictions - Oregon State at Utah & More, Part 2

- Ohio State at California | UCLA at Nebraska
- Tennessee at Oregon | Wisconsin at Arizona State 
- Washington at Illinois & More, Part 1 
- Oregon State at Utah & More, Part 2

Southern Utah (2-0) at Washington State (1-1) Sept. 14, 6:30, Pac-12 Network

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Wazzu returns to the Palouse as a conquering hero following a successful two-game road trip. The Cougars opened with a solid effort in a 31-24 loss at Auburn before raising the ante with their first win over USC in more than a decade. The shocking upset at the Coliseum served notice that Washington State has started moving in the right direction under second-year head coach Mike Leach. Now, it has to show it can handle prosperity against a lesser opponent from the FCS. Southern Utah has won both of its games, nipping the Sun Belt’s South Alabama before coasting against Division II Fort Lewis.
Why Southern Utah Might Win: Leach’s offense is hardly clicking at this time, struggling badly in the upset of USC. Getting on track versus the Thunderbirds might be a little tougher than expected. Southern Utah has been stingy and opportunistic thus far, scoring two defensive touchdowns, while getting pressure from LB Matt Holley and DE James Cowser.
Why Washington State Might Win: The Cougars are heading north on the backs of their … defense? Yup. Maligned for so many years, Wazzu is flexing its muscles for a change. The unit just got done holding the Trojans to seven points and 193 total yards. The swarming D is being sparked by corners Damante Horton and Daquawn Brown and linebackers Cyrus Corn and Justin Sagote.
Who To Watch Out For: All is fine and dandy in Pullman these days, but it won’t last if QB Connor Halliday can’t get right. He’s thrown just one touchdown pass, while getting picked five times.

The Thunderbirds are happy so far with the play of QB Aaron Cantu, the successor to current San Diego Charger Brad Sorensen. Cantu has thrown five touchdown passes without an interception.

- Look for Cougars’ defensive coordinator Mike Breske to employ the blitz in order to rattle Cantu into costly mistakes.
What Will Happen: Wazzu is on upset alert the week after shocking the world in Los Angeles. The Cougars will need to remain focused on the task at hand, no small chore for a school unaccustomed to prosperity. Following some tenuous moments early on, Leach’s kids will rise up on the strength of a frenetic D that’ll continue to perform beyond its billing.
Prediction: Washington State 40 … Southern Utah 20
Line: Washington State -23 o/u: 55.5
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 1.5

Oregon State (1-1) at Utah (2-0) Sept. 14, 10:00, Fox Sports 1

Why You Should Give A Hoot: The Beavers and the Utes, seemingly headed in opposite directions, are going to learn a lot about themselves in an early Pac-12 showdown at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Utah has gotten start so far, beating in-state foes Utah State and Weber State, the latter in a 70-7 demolition that has expectations trending north. New Ute Dennis Erickson, who’s been mending the offense, gets a crack at a program he coached from 1999-2002. While Oregon State evened its record with last week’s defeat of Hawaii, all is not calm in Corvallis. The Beavs already suffered a loss to Eastern Washington, and injuries have started to chip away at the program’s depth. Faced with a wicked last month of the season, OSU must gobble up wins now if it has any hopes of bowling.
Why Oregon State Might Win: The Beavers will need to lean on their skill position players to carry them to a victory in Salt Lake City. The triplets, QB Sean Mannion, RB Storm Woods and WR Brandin Cooks, will challenge the Utah defense in all directions. Mannion has gotten off to a crisp start, with four of his seven touchdown passes going to Cooks, and Woods is a weapon as a runner and a receiver.
Why Utah Might Win: Confidence is soaring, as the Utes continue to mesh on both sides of the ball. Second-year QB Travis Wilson has been a perfect fit with Erickson, throwing five scoring strikes without a pick, while showcasing his athleticism outside the pocket. The veteran defense has been active as well, notching 17 tackles for loss and nine sacks. Utah has an All-Pac-12-caliber player at each level, even as LB Brian Blechen continues rehabbing a knee injury.
Who To Watch Out For: OSU is banged up along the O-line, forcing C Isaac Seumalo to shift outside to right tackle. The unit will have its hands full with DT Tenny Palepoi and ends Trevor Reilly and Nate Orchard, all of whom can collapse the pocket.

- Oregon State will be without injured LB Michael Doctor, one of the heart-and-soul players of the D. Welcome back, D.J. Alexander, who’s expected to return this week from a knee injury.

- Utah FS Eric Rowe, a returning all-star, will spend part of his night moving around to support the corners against Cooks. If the receiver is left to his own devices, he can bring opposing defenses to their knees.

- Wilson is starting to get comfortable with his receivers, particularly Sean Fitzgerald. The 25-year-old senior began the season with nine career catches, but he’s already made eight grabs for 166 yards and two scores.
What Will Happen: Heading in opposite directions, Utah and Oregon State will continue down those disparate paths Saturday night. The Beavers are reeling, while the Utes are rolling. Utah will remain hot offensively, while its underrated D-line harasses Mannion into mistakes. In a pleasant surprise, it’ll begin the season with a third win in a row.
Prediction: Utah 37 … Oregon State 28
Line: Utah -3 o/u: 57
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 2.5

UTSA (1-1) at Arizona (2-0) Sept. 14, 10:30, Pac-12 Network

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Arizona has one more hurdle to clear before Pac-12 play begins and the real challenges tests the players and staff. The Wildcats have coasted to easy wins over Northern Arizona and UNLV, the latter coming by 45 points in Las Vegas. They’ve got one more glorified scrimmage to tweak the passing game and the defense before visiting Washington at the end of the month. UTSA will be facing its second straight tall order a week after getting waxed at home by Oklahoma State, 56-35. The Roadrunners did build some momentum with four four-quarter touchdowns, which they’ll look to carry into this week in Tucson.
Why UTSA Might Win: Larry Coker is building a feisty squad that begins Week 3 battle-tested. The Roadrunners should move the ball against a vulnerable Arizona defense that’s benefitted from the weakness of its competition. UTSA will again be piloted by QB Eric Soza, who leads the team in rushing and has thrown five touchdown passes.
Why Arizona Might Win: When faced with the grown-up Oklahoma State offense, UTSA caved in at the Alamodome. Expect more of the same this week, especially now that Wildcat star RB Ka’Deem Carey has served his one-game suspension. He erupted out of the paddy wagon for 171 yards and two scores on only 16 carries. Carey plus QB B.J. Denker on the ground will be a very tall order for the Roadrunners.
Who To Watch Out For: Arizona has one more week to fine-tune a suspect passing game. Denker has thrown just one scoring pass, which is fine against the likes of UNLV, but it’ll stall the attack against Pac-12 competition.

- S Tra’Mayne Bondurant continues to be a microcosm for the undersized, attacking Arizona defense. He’s picked off three of the team’s five passes, something Soza must be wary of Saturday night.

- Boy, do the Wildcats ever miss injured big-play WR Austin Hill. Through two games, the team has produced just one hook-up of more than 20 yards, compressing the field for opposing defenses.

What Will Happen: Arizona has its swagger back now that Carey has returned to the lineup. The Wildcats were a much better team in Week 2, on both sides of the ball, a trend that’ll continue on Saturday. They’ll run all over UTSA, once again routing an outmanned opponent, without the need of a potent passing game.
Prediction: Arizona 47 … UTSA 17
Line: Arizona -26 – O/U: 63.5
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 2

- Ohio State at California | UCLA at Nebraska
- Tennessee at Oregon | Wisconsin at Arizona State 
- Washington at Illinois & More, Part 1 
- Oregon State at Utah & More, Part 2