Utah is the unbeaten ranked team (18thin the coaches poll) playing in its homecoming game, but it’s visiting Stanfordwho is favored by nearly a touchdown in Saturday night’s Pac-12 matchup. Someof that is the respect national rushing leader Bryce Love quickly has earned,but much has to do with the Utes’ uncertainty at quarterback.
Sophomore starter Tyler Huntley went down with ashoulder injury in the second quarter of Utah’s last game – a 30-24 win atArizona on Sept. 22 – and was replaced by senior Troy Williams, who started all13 of the team’s games a season ago. The Utes were fortunate to have a bye weekin between, but availability of the dual-threat Huntley remains very much inquestion. “We will see who is going to start on Saturday – everything is up inthe air,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said Monday at his weekly newsconference. “… Troy is completely acclimated with the offense, even prior tothe bye week … (so) if Troy is the guy this week, then great. We are not overlyconcerned with who the guy is because we know whoever it is will need to get itdone.” Stanford, meanwhile, started the season 1-2 but has since posteddouble-digit conference wins over UCLA (58-34) and Arizona State (34-24) behindLove, who rushed for 564 yards and four touchdowns in the two contests.
TV: 10:15 p.m. ET, FS1. LINE: Stanford -6
ABOUT STANFORD (3-2, 2-1 Pac-12): After rollingup a school-record 301 yards and three TDs last Saturday against the SunDevils, Love leads the nation with 1,088 yards – more than 111 FBS teams and265 yards more than second-place Rashaad Penny of San Diego State – and isaveraging an FBS-best 11.1 yards per carry. On Friday, the Cardinal announced that junior quarterback Keller Chryst, who missed the Arizona State game with a head injury, will start Saturday but added that redshirt freshman K.J. Costello also will play after finishing 15-of-24 for 173 yards and a TD in his first start last week. On the other side of theball, defensive tackle Harrison Phillips has notched a team-best 41 totaltackles, three tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks for a defense which is allowing25.4 points and 444.2 yards per game.
ABOUT UTAH (4-0, 1-0): The Utes find themselvesin the early driver’s seat as the only unbeaten team in the Pac-12 South withUSC and Arizona State suffering losses last weekend. After stepping in forHuntley against the Wildcats, Williams completed 9-of-18 throws for 131 yardsand rushed four times for 15 yards and a TD, but whomever is under center willbe looking to get the ball to wideout Darren Carrington, who has caught 30passes and leads the conference with 121.3 receiving yards per contest. Utah willcounter Love with the Pac-12’s stingiest rushing defense (87.0 yards) and willlook to add more takeaways to its Pac-12-best total of 14, including nineinterceptions.
1. Utah leads the series 4-3 and has won bothgames against Stanford since joining the Pac-12 in 2011.
2. Love’s 1,088 yards are the fourth-most by anFBS player through five games, trailing only Garrett Wolfe (1,181 in 2006),Marcus Allen (1,136 in 1981) and Byron Hanspard (1,112 in 1996).
3. The Utes will have the kicking-game edge asthey lead the nation in field-goal percentage (14-of-14) and net punting (45.3yards).
PREDICTION: Utah 27, Stanford 24