It’s senior night in Pullman this weekend as the Cougars take on the Utah Utes (4-6, 1-6). Utah is coming off of a 44-21 loss to Oregon while Washington State is coming off a surprising victory at Arizona.
Utah needs to win out in order to become bowl eligible while Washington State has to win one of their final two games to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2006. Utah finishes next week against Colorado and the Cougars finish against Washington in the Apple Cup next week.
Utah has had a roller coaster of a season so far and is looking to finish it on a positive note. Utah lost to a very good Oregon State team in overtime, lost to a #12 UCLA and a week later took on #5 Stanford in what could be one of the biggest upsets in the PAC-12 this season. The Utes have yet to win a game since upsetting Stanford but came close to beating #22 ranked Arizona State, coming up short 20-19.
Utah quarterback Tyler Wilson hasto sit out the remainder of the season due to the doctors finding a pre-existing condition when going through concussion tests. Backup quarterback and walk on sophomore Adam Shulz, who started last week for the Utes against Oregon, will finish off the season as the starter.
We don’t know much about Shulz as he has only started one game this season and has appeared in 4 games. Shulz is 35 of 75 on the season and has thrown for 428 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has been sacked 6 times and has thrown 2 interceptions. When the Utes had Wilson out there he went 133-237 for 1827 yards and has thrown 16 interceptions and has 16 touchdowns and was sacked 16 times.
As a team the Utes have 1635 yards on the ground and have 15 touchdowns this season. Utah’s top running back, Bubba Poole has 592 yards on the ground with 2 touchdowns. The Utes second leading rusher is the injured Wilson with 386 yards and 5 touchdowns. Utah has two other “true” running backs with over 200 yards in Lucky Radley (281) and Kelvin York (237). New quarterback Adam Shulz has 22 yards on 19 carries with 1 touchdown.
For the Utes receivers there are two who have over 5 touchdowns. Leading receiver Dres Anderson has 779 yards and 6 touchdowns on 41 receptions. Second leading receiver, Sean Fitzgerald, has 404 yards and 5 touchdowns on 27 receptions. The Utes have three other receivers who have hauled in 2 touchdowns each this season and 6 with over 10 receptions – all 6 have over 100 yards each.
Utah is 66th in scoring offense with 28.6 points per game, 79th in total offense with 389 yards per game, 68th in passing offense with 225.5 yards per game, and is 73rd in rushing offense with 163.5 yards per game. They are also tied for first with only 2 fumbles lost this year.
The Utah defense’s strong suit is their defensive line which leads the nation in sacks with 36 for 218 yards for loss. Utah is 13th in the nation for tackle for lost yards with minus 304 yards on 71 tackles for loss (ranks 24th).
Defensive lineman Trevor Reilly leads the team with 83 tackles, 51 being solo tackles. The second leading tackler is linebacker Jason Whittingham who has 65 total tackles. To finish off the top 5 for Utah there is linebacker Jared Norris who has 64 tackles, and Defensive backs Eric Rowe (63) and Michael Walker (59).
The defense has struggled to get interceptions as they only have 2 on the year but have managed to recover 9 fumbles this season. Utah’s two interceptions have been hauled in by defensive backs Keith McGill, who returned his interception 19 yards for a score, and Michael Walker who had no return yards. McGill also leads the team in passes broken up.
Last season the Utes held Washington State to -5 rushing yards and 259 passing yards and held the Cougar offense to just 6 points which came from a touchdown as time expired. The Cougars went 2-15 on third down and held the Cougars to just 14 first downs in the game.