SALT LAKE CITY - Utah lost more than a game and its solo perch atop the Pac-12 South Division last week. The 24th-ranked Utes also lost starting quarterback Tyler Huntley to a broken collarbone, and now they turn to redshirt-freshman Jason Shelley for Saturday afternoon’s home date with Oregon.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: Utah -4
Shelley replaced the junior Huntley in the third quarter Saturday at Arizona State and completed 4-of-11 passes for 59 yards and an interception. But Utah was outscored 17-3 from that point forward in the 38-20 loss, dropping the Utes into a four-way, loss-column tie atop the South standings. “He (Shelley) ran this type of offense in high school very efficiently and did a great job,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said Monday in his weekly news conference. “This is his element, the spread offense. We are excited to see what he can do. We will have a full week of getting him the No. 1 reps and see what happens. We have a lot of confidence in him.” Oregon, meanwhile, saw its quarterback, junior Justin Herbert, clear the concussion protocol last week and throw for 264 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-21 win over UCLA.
ABOUT OREGON (6-3, 3-3 Pac-12)
The Ducks’ home win snapped a two-game losing streak and moved them into a third-place tie with Stanford in the Pac-12 North. Leading receiver Dillon Mitchell also cleared the concussion protocol last week and caught eight passes for 156 yards and both of Herbert’s TD tosses while CJ Verdell, Tony Brooks-James and Cyrus Habibi-Likio all ran for TDs to pace a 200-yard effort on the ground. Despite 10 tackles from linebacker Troy Dye – the first Oregon player in 31 years to record double-digit tackles in five straight games – the Ducks did surrender 496 total yards and are allowing 392.4 yards and 27.6 points per outing on the season.
ABOUT UTAH (6-3, 4-3)
Shelley will lean heavily on junior tailback Zack Moss, who has rushed for at least 128 yards in each of the last three games and is tied for third in the Pac-12 with 121.3 yards per contest. The Utes also will be focused on cutting down on turnovers after throwing three interceptions vs. Arizona State and falling to minus-2 on the season in turnover differential. Behind leading tackler Chase Hansen (8.3), the Utes rank second in the conference in scoring defense (19.1 points) and total defense (314.7 yards) but surrendered season highs in points (38) and total yards (536) to the Sun Devils.
1. Oregon has won four of the five meetings, including a 41-20 home win last season, since Utah joined the Pac-12 in 2011 and has won the last two games in Salt Lake City.
2. Herbert has thrown for 19 TDs and only two interceptions in nine career Pac-12 road games, and his 24 straight games overall with a scoring pass is the longest current streak in the FBS.
3. With 1,092 rushing yards this year, Moss is the fourth player in Utah program history with two 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He finished with 1,173 in 2017.
PREDICTION: Utah 26, Oregon 24
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