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Take 3: Utah Football to attempt to kick off season against USC

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NCAA Football: Utah at Southern California Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The year 2020 is like the movie Groundhog Day. That is no different than the Utah football season and their attempt to get the season off the ground. After two cancelled games, and the nay team in the conference yet to see the field, the Utes look to take the field against 2-0 USC Friday night. With the number of players that are likely to be coming out of quarantine, the chances for this game to happen are much higher than they’ve been all season. Media members have reports out there that things are looking good on the testing front for the Utes, and I think we’ll actually see football this Saturday. The key is will there be any positive tests on Thursday or Friday? Last week things were looking pretty good until Friday, although, that game would have been a bunch of walk ons for the Utes. Now it sounds like much of the Utah roster will be ready for Saturday, but there are still plenty of hurdles to overcome.

Here’s the full press release from the program for this week:

THE GAME

The University of Utah (0-0) is set to host the USC Trojans (2-0) on Saturday, Nov. 21 in Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utes and the Trojans will kick off at 8:30 p.m. MT on ESPN. Search #GOUTES and #UBOYZ on social media for conversation about Utah Football this season.

HOME SWEET HOME

Utah is currently 98-35 (.736) all-time in Rice-Eccles Stadium (1998-present). Utah is 70-24 during the Kyle Whittingham era in Salt Lake City, including three undefeated home seasons in 2008 (6-0), 2009 (6-0) and 2019 (7-0). Utah has won 11 consecutive home games and 13 of their last 14 at RES. It is the longest home winning streak since winning 21 in a row (second-longest in school history) from 9/15/07 to 10/23/10.

NUMBERS TALK

• With a win, Utah will have won 13-straight season openers, dating back to 2008.

• Utah is 11-0 when opening a season at home in the Kyle Whittingham era.

• Utah has won four of the six games played in Salt Lake City against the Trojans, including the last three (2014, 2016, 2018).

• After Utah’s game against USC, the Utes will have played in 82 games in the Pac-12.

• After Utah’s game against the Trojans, Kyle Whittingham will have coached in 196 games as the head coach of the Utes.

QUICK HITS

• Utah is 76-49-1 all-time in season openers. Utah last lost a season opener against Oregon State in 2007.

• The last time the Utes opened the season against an opponent from the Pac-12 was in 2007 against Oregon State when Utah was a member of the Mountain West.

• The last time the Utes opened the season at home against an opponent from the Pac-12 was in 2005, beating Arizona 27-24 in Rice-Eccles Stadium on Sept. 2, Kyle Whittingham’s first full season as the Utah head coach.

• This is the first year Utah’s opening game will not be on a Thursday since 2008 (Saturday, Aug. 30 at Michigan).

• Nov. 21 will be the latest in a regular season that Utah and USC have met with only three previous games against the Trojans being played in the month of November (Nov. 20, 1915; Nov. 17, 1917; Nov. 15, 1919). The Utes and the Trojans also met for two neutral site December games in 1993 and 2001, playing against each other in the Freedom Bowl (1993) and Las Vegas Bowl (2001).

• Utah’s game against USC is the latest season opener for Utah since 1895 when Utah played against the YMCA team on November 28.

• Utah enters the week receiving votes on both the AP and Coaches polls. Prior to the season starting, Utah landed at No. 22 in the Preseason AP Top 25.

• Utah’s preseason ranking by AP is the second-highest preseason AP Poll rank the Utes have received since 2015 after being voted No. 14 in 2019.

• The Utes have either been ranked or received votes in the last six AP Preseason polls, finishing the year ranked or receiving votes in four of those years. The Utes surpassed their preseason AP rankings in 2016 (Preseason rank: 24th, FR: 23rd) and 2015 (Preseason rank: 24th, FR: 17th).