(KUTV) Will the Utes strength be stronger than the Cardinal’s strength?
At his Monday press conference Utes coach Kyle Whittingham made it clear, Stanford hasn’t changed in the two years they have been off the schedule. They are going to line up and run right at the Utes and when Stanford runs, Stanford wins. They have run for more than 280 yards in each of their three wins and for less than 180 yards in both of their losses.
Most Stanford fans probably thought Christian McCaffrey would be the best Cardinal running back they would ever see. Now it turns out he may not be the best Cardinal running back this decade. Bryce Love ran for 301 yards vs Arizona State, breaking McCaffrey’s single game school record. Love has run for more than 1,000 yards in the first five games and McCaffrey’s school record of 2,019 yards is clearly in jeopardy. Love is a home run back. Defenses stop him for a while and then he breaks a long run, seven of his eight TD runs are 43 yards or longer.
Will the Utes, ranked 18th in the coaches poll and 20th in the media poll, be able to stop Love? Utah is ranked 10th nationally against the run, because the Utes first four opponents have rushed for an average of just 87 yards per game.
In addition to stopping the run, the Utes force turnovers. They have 14 takeaways in the first four games, which ranks third in the nation. But Stanford has turned the ball over just five times all year.
Stanford opens as a three point favorite, although the Cardinal are 0-2 vs the Utes in the Pac 12 era.