To kick off the first week of college football action, we gave you three games to watch. Each of those games featured a future Utah opponent. We have one takeaway (or a few points) for each game. These could be overreactions due to the small sample size, but without further ado, here are the three takeaways:
BYU Struggles Against FCS Portland State
BYU only won 20-6 against the Portland State Vikings, who are an FCS team from the Big Sky Conference. The Vikings are coming off a 3-8 season and were picked ninth out of 12 teams in the Big Sky Preseason Media Poll. They featured a true freshman quarterback, Jalani Eason, making his first career start. PSU was the only team to recruit Eason as a quarterback. BYU in general looked slow for much of the game. My biggest takeaway was how BYU’s inexperienced wide receiving corps struggled to beat the press man coverage from the Portland State defensive backs. Utah also runs press man coverage and features better defensive backs (even though they lack experience) than Portland State. This was the first game of the year for BYU against an opponent they may have overlooked. They also could have been looking ahead to their games against LSU, Utah, and Wisconsin. Whatever the reason, this was not a great start to the season for BYU.
San José State Started Fast Then Fizzled
The Spartans jumped out to a 16-0 lead on the No. 19 South Florida Bulls then the wheels fell off. Like a bottle rocket, the Spartans started quick then blew up, allowing 42 unanswered points before closing the game out with the final touchdown to fall 42-16. Their defense brought a lot of pressure which could test the Utah offensive line. One interesting takeaway from the game is that South Florida rushed the ball 73 times and averaged over four yards per carry. If Utah wants to pound the rock, they definitely will be able to against SJSU. In the first quarter, SJSU looked like they might be a tougher out for the Utes than initially expected, but as the game wore on, they looked more like how we expected them to look.
Stanford Did What They Were Supposed To Do
The Cardinal rolled to a 38-0 halftime lead over Rice. They got the game started with a fast touchdown thanks to a 62-yard Bryce Love run. The game finished with a 62-7 Stanford win. They totaled 225 rushing yards in the first half. Love had 180 rushing yards in the game on only 13 carries. While the season started about as well as can be hoped for Stanford, I do not want to read too much into this game. Stanford did what they were supposed to do, namely physically dominate a lesser opponent. It was an impressive performance to be sure, but I want to see them against teams like USC (who they play in two weeks), UCLA, and Utah before I am going to predict them to knock off the reigning Pac-12 Champions Washington.
Wow did Oregon State look bad in their game at Colorado State, losing 58-27. The Beavers turned the football over five times and gave up 525 yards. The CSU Rams will be a very good team in the Mountain West Conference this season, but the Beavers got flat out embarrassed in Fort Collins, Colo. This was a team that finished 2016 strong winning their final two games. They have gotten off to a horrible start to the third season under head coach Gary Andersen. Can they get the season back on track when they play Portland State next week at home?