Preview: Southern Utah at Utah

When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, September 1, 2016
Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah


Utah breaks in a new quarterback and also aims to avoid being upset when it hosts FCS program Southern Utah on Thursday. Junior quarterback Troy Williams was the winner of a three-man derby in fall camp and this is his second opportunity at the major-college level after beginning his career at Washington.

Williams departed Washington after the 2014 season and had a stellar junior-college campaign at Santa Monica College last season by throwing for 2,750 yards and 31 touchdowns against just four interceptions. Williams beat out freshman Tyler Huntley and junior Brandon Cox for the job, prompting Cox to transfer and Utes coach Kyle Whittingham to crow about his new leader. "By the third week of fall camp, it became pretty apparent that he had separated himself completely," Whittingham said of Williams at Monday's press conference. "He's a guy who has everything you're looking for in a quarterback. Physically, he possesses the arm, mobility and decision making, but also has the intangibles." Southern Utah is ranked 23rd in the FCS preseason Coaches' Poll and is beginning its first season under new coach Demario Warren.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: Off

ABOUT SOUTHERN UTAH (2015: 8-4): The Thunderbirds won the Big Sky Conference last season but are in transition mode after the loss of three defensive stars -- safety Miles Killebrew, cornerback LeShaun Sims and defensive end James Cowser -- along with quarterback Ammon Olsen. Brigham Young transfer McCoy Hill, a sophomore, will be the new quarterback and he has a solid target to throw the ball to in senior receiver Mike Sharp, who caught 54 passes for 889 yards and 13 touchdowns last season while adding another on the ground. Junior outside linebacker Mike Needham (94 tackles, three interceptions) is the top cog in the defense and junior defensive tackle Chance Bearnson (13 tackles for losses) also stands out.

ABOUT UTAH (2015: 10-3): Williams started one game at Washington in 2014 and has the task of replacing four-year starter Travis Wilson, the revered leader who fought through injuries to start a quarterback school-record 39 games. The Utes also have to replace running back Devontae Booker - one of two players in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons - but senior Joe Williams appears up to the task after averaging 133 yards over the final three games last season while starting in place of an injured Booker. The defense is led by two All-Pac-12 first-team selections in junior defensive tackle Lowell Lotulelei (five career sacks) and junior free safety Marcus Williams (five interceptions last season) and also features senior defensive ends Hunter Dimick (15 career sacks) and Kylie Fitts (seven sacks, four forced fumbles in 2015).

EXTRA POINTS

1. This is the first meeting between the two schools, while Utah is 37-0 all-time against schools from the Big Sky Conference.

2. Utes senior K Andy Phillips, a two-time All-Pac-12 first-team selection, holds the school record of 63 field goals.

3. Utah senior WR Tim Patrick (knee) played in just one game last season but impressed in fall camp to win a starting job.

PREDICTION: Utah 30, Southern Utah 9

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Southern Utah 0-0 - 0.0 0.0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Utah 0-0 - 0.0 0.0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0

Last Meeting

Southern Utah Utah
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
No Previous Meeting.

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
SUU N/A
UTAH N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
SUU N/A
UTAH N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
SUU N/A
UTAH N/A
TDs Player TD
SUU N/A
UTAH N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
SUU N/A
UTAH N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
SUU N/A
UTAH N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
SUU N/A
UTAH N/A
TDs Player TD
SUU N/A
UTAH N/A

Quickchart Matchup

Southern Utah Off vs  Utah Def
0 yards
0 yards
0 yards/rush
0 yards/rush
Utah Off vs  Southern Utah Def
0 yards
0 yards

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

Southern Utah Overall Utah
0-0-0 W/L 0-0-0
0-0-0 ATS 0-0-0
0-0-0 O/U 0-0-0
0.0 Pts For 0.0
0.0 Pts Against 0.0
Southern Utah A/H Utah
0-0 W/L 0-0
0-0-0 ATS 0-0-0
0-0-0 O/U 0-0-0
0.0 Pts For 0.0
0.0 Pts Against 0.0
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