SALT LAKE CITY – No. 19 Utah dropped its first game of the season Friday against USC and the losses may not have stopped there. Quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zack Moss were injured in the game, with the latter knocked out for the night in the first quarter, and both are questionable for Saturday night's home contest against Washington State.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FS1. LINE: Utah -5
Moss, who leads the team with 393 rushing yards and four touchdowns, was felled by an early shoulder injury and didn't return while Huntley finished the game but was seen limping noticeably afterward with what the Salt Lake Tribune says could be a foot injury. Utah coach Kyle Whittingham predictably played it coy in his weekly Monday news conference when asked about the status of Huntley and Moss who have combined for 1,364 yards of total offense and 10 TDs this season. "We just hope everyone's there," Whittingham said. "Why would you ever tip your hand to the opponent? That would make no sense at all, and until college football has an injury-report rule, we just won't do it." Washington State also is coming off its first setback of the season – a stunning 67-63 home loss to UCLA late Saturday night after squandering a 32-point second-half lead.
ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE (3-1)
Senior quarterback Anthony Gordon threw a program single-game record nine TD passes against UCLA, but shockingly that wasn't enough as the Cougars lost six turnovers to help fuel the Bruins' rally from a 49-17 deficit over the game's final quarter and a half. "I think there were some guys who got satisfied and sloppy," Washington State coach Mike Leach said of his team Monday at his weekly news conference. "They got satisfied, looked at the scoreboard , which is precisely what we tell them not to do, and then they got sloppy and soft." Gordon is tops nationally with an average of 473.5 passing yards per contest and has thrown an FBS-best 21 scoring passes with his top target being senior wideout Easop Winston Jr. (26 receptions-348 yards-eight TDs).
ABOUT UTAH (3-1)
If Huntley and Moss are sidelined for any length of time, the Utes have recent experience in piecing together backup plans after both missed the final five games of last season, including the Pac-12 title game and Holiday Bowl losses. Quarterback Jason Shelley, then a freshman, stepped in for Huntley late last season, while running backs Devin Brimfield (10 rushes, 63 yards) and Devonta'e Henry Cole (4-31-TD) took over for Moss in the 30-23 loss to USC. The Utah defense, led by linebacker Devin Lloyd (31 total tackles, 4.5 for loss), came into last Friday's game having allowed an average of 9.6 points and 174.3 passing yards per outing but were gashed for 30 points and 368 aerial yards by the Trojans and third-string quarterback Matt Fink, who tossed a trio of TD passes.
1. Washington State has won four straight in the series after last season's 28-24 home victory decided on Gardner Minshew's 89-yard scoring pass to Winston with 4:14 to play.
2. Washington State has allowed 995 passing yards on the season but 507 came against UCLA as Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed 25-of-38 passes and had five TD tosses.
3. RB Max Borghi leads Washington State with 325 rushing yards and four TDs but will find the going extremely tough against a Utah defense ranked second nationally against the run (52 yards per outing).
PREDICTION: Utah 26, Washington State 23