What we know about Arizona: Sumlin has been…disappointing. To be fair to him, he was asked to play Tate and Tate isn’t a QB and Sumlin’s offense needs a QB. A good analogy would be asking Mike Leach to run a run heavy/option offense. You can’t expect success. Sumlin now has a QB who can run his offense and we should expect some increase in how they perform. We also know that Arizona might not have a defense. They were a terrible defense last year and they lost all their good players. They have five starters either transfer or opt out of the season.
Last year Arizona gave up 36 points per game and 471 yards per game. They averaged 440 yards of total offense (266/174 pass/rush). They averaged 22 points per game vs P5 teams but there was no consistency. Against Utah/ASU/Oregon/USC they averaged 10 points. Against Texas Tech, UCLA, Colorado, UW, Stanford, OSU they averaged 30 points per game. They can put up points when the defense lacks and when the defense was stout they were terrible. A very weak mentally team.
They lose their top two rushers in Tate and Taylor. They return their top two WR’s from last year. They were a mess last year. Just a mess. They ran two QB’s most of the year and neither one was good. They put up a lot of yards, but didn’t do well scoring the ball. You’d see Gunnel have 350 yards passing an 1 TD.
All in all, this is a bad, bad team. They are an absolute mess of a program. Which makes them dangerous to play against the first game of the year…maybe. IF they like their coaches, you could get a spirited effort from them as they try to save their coaches job. If they don’t like their coaches, you will blow the doors off them.
Honestly, I think this game comes down to the OL/DL. Utah could easily put up 40 against Arizona. BUT, seeing how Whitt is Whitt, I think Utah comes out and treats this game like they are playing vs NIU, BYU, Weber St…basically a much inferior team that they should blow out and Utah just does enough to win and not show anything.
I think we see Utah run the ball…a TON. Especially if Rising is starting. Utah tries to make this a quick game and have the clock run non-stop.
We will see a play or two for Covey (running the ball, a screen, etc), we will have Kuithe with a run play or two and a few passes his way and we will see a steady stream of Brumfield, Wilmore and Jordan. Utah uses this game to get some separation in the running backs. I bet Utah runs the ball 50 times and throws it just under 20 times.
IF the OL can control the run game and the DL can get pressure on the QB this will be an incredibly boring game. Like a 27-14 type game that is 24-7 at halftime. Or like the BYU game last year, with it being 6-9 at halftime, then Utah eventually getting to 30-6 and winning 30-12.
If Utah lets Gunnell have time to throw and with our secondary, this could be an ugly game the other way. Basically AZ throwing all over the place and Utah trying to run the clock out on the other side with a Stanford vs Arizona 2019 feel to it…24-31 at halftime and a 41-31 finish.
Either way, Utah wins and Utah fans are all pissed because Utah really, really sucks and we expected better and we heard so much about the QB and blah, blah, blah.
My prediction: 28-14 Utah with Utah up 28-7 when we have a 90 min thunderstorm delay in the fourth quarter. Just an ugly game. BUT WE HAVE FOOTBALL and an ugly first game for Utah is what we do and we are DAMN proud of it.