No. 24 Utah opens against Weber State for third time

National Sports

SALT LAKE CITY (AP)Weber State (0-0) at No. 24 Utah (0-0), 7:30 p.m. ET (Pac-12).

Series record: Utah leads 5-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Bragging rights for the schools located about 35 miles apart. The Utes have won all five games in the series over the Wildcats, outscoring them by a 230-61 margin. It will be the third time they’ve opened the season against each other. In 2018, Utah won 41-10 and in 1984 the Utes won 52-16.

KEY MATCHUP

Utah has four co-starters at running back in Micah Bernard, Tavion Thomas, LSU transfer Chris Curry and Oklahoma transfer T.J. Pledger. They’re trying to fill in for the late Ty Jordan, who died last December in what officials say was an accidental shooting. The Utes will honor Jordan by wearing a decal on their helmets. Weber State had two defensive players earn All-America honors in their spring season, linebacker Conner Mortensen and safety Preston Smith.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Weber State: KR/WR Rashid Shaheed currently is sixth in school history with 3,975 all-purpose yards. He also needs 31 more yards receiving to reach 1,500-yard mark.

Utah: QB Charlie Brewer transferred in from Baylor, where he threw for 9,700 yards and 65 TDs. He’s thrown for 300 or more yards 10 times in his career. He’s fifth among active FBS quarterbacks in career yards passing.

FACTS & FIGURES

Weber State’s last season was moved from the fall to the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. The team went 5-0 in the Big Sky to win its fourth straight conference title. The Wildcats lost to Southern Illinois in the FCS playoffs. … The Wildcats were tabbed to win the Big Sky this season by the coaches and media. …Jay Hill returns for an eighth season as coach of the Wildcats. He’s 52-31 overall and 39-14 in Big Sky contests. … Hill played two seasons at Utah (1998-00). He also was an assistant coach with Utah for 13 seasons under the likes of Urban Meyer, Ron McBride and current coach Kyle Whittingham. … Whittingham is the longest-tenured coach in the Pac-12 Conference. He’s 134-66. … Utah has a 55-12-2 all-time record versus the Big Sky Conference. … The Utes were picked to finish second in the South Division of the Pac-12. They had five first-team All-Pac-12 selections: OL Nick Ford, LB Devin Lloyd, DE Mika Tafua, PK Jadon Redding and WR Britain Covey.

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