In the latest chapter of the “Battle of the Brothers,” No. 24 Utah seeks a second-straight victory when it faces rival Utah State Friday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utes staged a late comeback to claim 2013’s last meeting 30-26, and counting their loss the year before, have gone 12-1 in the series for nearly two decades.
But the Aggies have kept the last two matchups close, with neither side capable of winning by more than a touchdown.
"It's been a heck of a rivalry. It's been very competitive; I can tell you that, especially as of late," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham told KSL.com. "Our guys look forward to it. We better be at our best if we're going to have a chance to win this football game."
Following the 24-17 victory over Michigan that propelled them into the top 25 last week, the Utes (1-0) are once again heavy favorites to blow past the Aggies (1-0) with their hard-charging rushing attack and stacked defensive unit.
Utah ripped off 129 total rushing yards and two touchdowns against the Wolverines, with senior running back Devontae Booker accounting for 69 yards and a score, and senior quarterback Travis Wilson another 53 yards and a touchdown. Wilson would go 24-for-33 for 208 yards and an interception.
Booker also led the team with seven receptions and 55 yards, but it was the Utes defense that truly shined.
Junior defensive backs Justin Thomas and Cory Butler-Byrd, along with sophomore Marcus Williams, each collected an interception and held Michigan to 6-for-16 on third down.
The Aggies and head coach Matt Wells opened their season against a far less nationally recognized program, downing Southern Utah 12-9 at home.
After a blocked punt and surrendering a 27-yard touchdown on the Thunderbirds opening drive, Utah State’s defense clamped down and allowed only 136 total yards the rest of the way.
Led by senior quarterback Chuckie Keaton, who was returning from a second straight season-ending injury, the Aggies struggled to get their offense going. They’d total 250 yards and couldn’t break into the end zone, and instead relied on junior receiver Andrew Rodriguez’s eight punt returns for 136 yards, including his 88-yard touchdown with less than five minutes left in the game.
Keaton would go 16-for-33 for 110 yards and a pick, while sophomore running back LaJuan Hunt tallied 80 yards and 23 attempts.
Kickoff Time: 9 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN2
Live Online: Watch ESPN
Prediction: Utah over Utah State, 27-10