Washington State vs Utah: Scouting The Utes


This weekend the Cougars will be heading to Utah to play the Utes in what will be the second conference game for the Cougars and the first for Utah.

More from Washington State Football

Utah is coming off of a win at Michigan last weekend where their starting quarterback, Travis Wilson, left the game after going airborne and landing on his head. Wilson later returned and the Utes were able to finish out Michigan and not allow them into the redzone on the whole night.

After going 3-0 against Idaho State, Fresno State, and Michigan they will finally see some competition that is a little bit more challenging than the first two. Michigan is struggling this year and although the name is big, the win itself is not as big as it may seem.

So, let’s get to know who this Utah team is.


Quarterback Travis Wilson has had his ups and downs and has stayed strong through everything and that shows on the field. Last week Wilson dove for more yards against Michigan before getting hit low and flipping and landing on his head and having to leave the game for a little bit. He doesn’t throw the ball much at all and neither does Utah as a team. As a whole, they have 86 passing attempts on the season for 824 yards leaving the running game the biggest option.

Through the three games, Wilson has 618 yards and 7 touchdowns on 38 of 58 passing and no interceptions. His backup, Kendal Thompson, is 14 of 24 for 189 yards and a touchdown and interception.

The main targets for Wilson and Thompson are Dres Anderson and Kenneth Scott as each has 3 touchdowns. Anderson has more yards than Scott with 252 yards on 13 receptions and Scott with 155 yards on 14 receptions. The Utes have 8 receivers who average more than 10 yards per reception this season. Of those 8, all but two have more than one reception.

On the ground is where they tend to excel. Six different running backs have scored a touchdown this season with Devontae Booker and Bubba Poole being the top two. Booker has 179 yards on 31 carries while Poole has 135 yards on 28 carries. The third and fourth running backs are also Wilson and Thompson. Both have 23 carries each and a touchdown. Troy McCormick is the 3rd true running back but is 5th on the list with 58 yards on 21 carries.

On average the Utes have scored 47 points which is good enough for 7th in the nation and have put up more than 55 points in two games this season.


The defense of the Utes is the strongest part of their game and they have only allowed more than 14 points once this season. That came in their second game against Fresno State where they allowed 27 points. They have not allowed a team to put up more than 340 total yards on them this season.

Utah has 3 interceptions on the year with one from Gionni Paul, Tevin Carter, and Brian Blechen. Both Paul and Carter are in the top 5 in tackles for the team.

Linebacker Jared Norris leads the team in tackles with 23 but has defensive lineman Nate Orchard right behind him with 21. Defensive backs Eric Rowe (18) and Carter (15) round out the top 4 with Paul, a linebacker, finishing out the top 5 with 14.

Paul played in his first game as a Ute against Michigan and is already 5th on the team in tackles, has recorded an interception, and recovered a fumble in just 1 game. After transferring from Miami Paul has gone through a lot of injuries to get to where he is.

Defensive lineman Hunter Dimick, Clint Sheppard, Filipo Mokofisi, and Viliseni Fauonuku and Nate Orchard are the main lineman we will see this weekend with the ability to bring in other lineman. The line for them is not only deep but is also very experienced and has been around for a while.

Utah is 6th in the nation in sacks with 15 and is one of the only teams to only have played in 3 games. The Utes do a great job of getting to the quarterback and forcing him outside of the pocket which is going to force some issues for Halliday as he is not a very mobile quarterback. They have 9 different players that have been involved in a sack this season and have 4 players that have more than 1 this year. Orchard is the team leader with 4.5 so far this season.

The Utes don’t allow many points and are very solid on defense but have yet to play an offense that can put up the type of yards that Washington State does.