Obviously there are more aspects to winning than just three things, but I think in order for the Utes to succeed Saturday, Utah will need to accomplish all three of these things -- or at least come damn close. While I feel good about Saturday, it's a rivalry game and every aspect of the contest matters. That means one mistake could prove costly and we can't have that, can we?
- Pressure the hell out of Max Hall! Hall is a good quarterback, but when pressured does not perform terribly well. If the Utes fluster him, he will turn the ball over and Utah has been great at forcing interceptions this season. Though BYU has done pretty good for how much they've turned the ball over this season, Utah is a different beast than the traditional teams BYU has faced. They will capitalize on those turnovers and they will be costly. However, that will require Utah to actually force those turnovers and the best place to start is by pressuring Hall.
- Capitalize on turnovers. It's important Utah capitalize on forced turnovers. They've done a great job of this throughout the season and they will need to continue against BYU. If, like I said above, they force Hall into mistakes, the success off those turnovers could be the difference in the game. With turnovers, the Utes will most likely be dealing with a short field, which Utah has done well in all season.
- Exploit the Cougar secondary. The Cougar secondary isn't horrible, but they do give up over 200 yards through the air in a game. If Brian Johnson can carve up this secondary, Utah should easily work its way down field. However, Johnson has struggled at times when throwing deep and that can't happen Saturday. It can't happen because BYU does have a stout run defense, only giving up 92 yards per game. If Utah struggles in its passing game, relying on the run might not be enough to move the ball to the point where the offense can be successful.
It will be interesting to see how BYU's offense does against the Utes' defense. I think Utah's defense will be the best the Cougars have faced all season and BYU's last real defensive opponent -- TCU -- could have won if they had any type of offense. The Utes, though, do have that offense and this is why I'm optimistic about their chances. With that said, this won't be a high scoring game -- at least compared to the last three. I wouldn't be surprised if the final score was somewhere in the 20s, instead of the 30s like last year. Of course the Utes will win and everything will be right in the world again.