SALT LAKE CITY – No. 12 Utah has notched a pair of double-digit wins to open the season and is looking to move to 3-0 for the fifth time in the last six campaigns. The Utes get that chance Saturday afternoon when they play host to FCS-member Idaho State.
TV: 4:15 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: None
Coach Kyle Whittingham says he's generally liked what he's seen in a 30-12 win at BYU and a 35-17 victory over visiting Northern Illinois. Still, he admitted that there are a few parts of his team's game that need tweaks. "As far as getting things shored up, I think we need to be better in short-yardage situations and just converting those," Whittingham said Monday at his weekly news conference. "We were outstanding (versus Northern Illinois) in the red zone, going five-for-five with no field-goal attempts, (but) I would like to see where (freshman kicker) Jadon Redding is and give him a few shots." Idaho State, of the Big Sky Conference, has played just one contest so far, beating Division II Western Colorado 38-13 on Saturday.
ABOUT IDAHO STATE (1-0)
The Bengals rolled up 532 yards of total offense in the win with freshman quarterback Matt Struck completing 22-of-41 attempts for 385 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. His favorite targets were wide receivers Tanner Conner and Michael Dean, who combined for 17 receptions, 319 yards and three scores. Defensively, Idaho State limited the visitors to 178 total yards with defensive lineman Kainoa Fuiava and linebacker Kody Graves each notching six tackles.
ABOUT UTAH (2-0)
Behind one of the nation's best defensive fronts, the Utes' defense tightened up in the second half for the second straight week, pitching a shutout and limiting Northern Illinois to 69 total yards over the final 30 minutes. On the other side of the ball, quarterback Tyler Huntley showed off his dual-threat skills with a 14-of-19, 214-yard, one-TD passing performance while also rushing for 38 yards and a TD on only three carries. Senior tailback and NFL Draft-prospect Zack Moss is Utah's primary offensive weapon, and he followed up his 187-yard outing against BYU with 80 rushing yards and two TDs against the Huskies.
1. Utah has won all seven meetings in the series and is 53-12-2 against current Big Sky Conference members.
2. The Utes are the highest-ranked FBS team Idaho State has played since losing 56-0 to then-No. 17 Washington in 2013.
3. Moss is 82 rushing yards away from reaching 3,000 for his career and 302 away from eclipsing Eddie Johnson (3,219 yards) as the school's all-time rushing leader.
PREDICTION: Utah 52, Idaho State 3