Utah at Utah State: What bettors need to know
Utah Utes at Utah State Aggies (+7.5, 52.5)
It has been nearly four years since Utah paid a visit to non-conference rival Utah State. That streak will end Friday when the team’s square off at Romney Stadium, but it may also be the final chapter of the lopsided rivalry - at least in Logan.
The unfortunate thing about the nation's ninth-longest rivalry slowly dissolving is that the Aggies, who have lost 12 straight in the series by an average of 24.1 points, are as well-equipped to compete with the Utes as they have been in quite some time. They made their first bowl appearance since 1997 last season and opened 2011 with a 34-3 win over Southern Utah.
Utah, meanwhile, is formidable as usually and is coming off its first shutout in five years – a 41-0 blanking of Northern Colorado. This is the first meeting in Logan since the Utes blasted the Aggies 58-10 in 2008. Utah also cruised to a 35-17 home victory in the most recent meeting in 2009.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2.
LINE: Oddsmakers opened Utah as a 7-point road favorite which climbed to -8 before buyback on the home side brought the spread to -7.5. The total opened at 53 and climbed as high as 54 before dropping to 52.5 points.
WEATHER: The forecast for Logan calls for clear skies and temperatures will drop from the 80s to the mid-60s later in the night. Winds will blow north at 6 mph.
ABOUT UTAH (1-0): The Utes flashed a dominating defense and a ball-control offense in their opener, albeit against an overmatched Northern Colorado team. Utah’s defense, anchored by sure-fire first-round pick in defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, held the Bears to 114 total yards. Meanwhile, senior running back John White (24 carries, 119 yards, touchdown) paced an offense that set an Rice-Eccles stadium record with a 21-play, 91-yard drive, which took 10:42 off the clock. Elsewhere, fourth-year junior quarterback Jordan Wynn (he was granted a medical hardship) appears healthy after undergoing two shoulder injuries in a 10-month period. He finished 19-of-27 for 200 yards with two TDs and an interception. Both touchdown passes went to emerging sophomore tight end Jake Murphy, the son of baseball Hall of Famer Dale Murphy.
ABOUT UTAH STATE (1-0): The Aggies, a popular pick to win the Western Athletic Conference in their final season in the league (they’re headed to the Mountain West Conference in 2013), racked up 581 yards of offense against Southern Utah. Sophomore Joe Hill ran for 116 yards and three scores and fellow sophomore Chuckie Keeton passed for 304 yard and two touchdowns. Keeton regained the starting job this spring after an injury forced him to miss the final five games of last season. Keeton showed his potential when he nearly led the Aggies to a season-opening upset of Auburn in 2011.
* Over is 3-0-1 in their last four meetings.
* Utes are 5-0 ATS in their last five meetings in Utah State.
* Road team is 5-0-1 ATS in their last six meetings.
* Aggies are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games following a S.U. win.
1. Utah first-year offensive coordinator Brian Johnson was the Utes' quarterback in the most recent meeting in Logan. He was 22-of-31 for 204 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
2. Utah has won 20 of the last 22 meetings and leads the overall series 77-28-4.
3. The Utes bought their way out of the 2014 matchup in Logan for $500,000, and the only other two remaining contests are slated for Salt Lake City (2013, 2015).