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Utah at BYU:
BYU was not very good in Tucson against Arizona but ended up winning the game 24-16. They were starting a new quarterback and had a new offensive coordinator and a new offensive line coach. Quarterback Jaren Hall threw for almost 200 yards and ran for 36 more. Tyler Allgeier rushed for 94 yards and is a returning starter. Wide receiver, Neil Paa’u had 8 catches for 126 yards in week 1 and is joined by Gunner Romney. They should be more explosive and get better as the season moves along.
On defense, linebacker Keenan Pili was credited with 17 tackles in the opener. Fellow backers, Ben Bywater and Payton Wilgar chipped in with 19 more. The Cougars were strong against the run but their pass defense was gashed for 345 yards. Expect improvement from week 1 to week 2 from this unit.
Utah rolled up 450 yards of total offense against FCS foe, Weber State. Transfer quarterback, Charlie Brewer had a decent debut, throwing for 233 yards and two touchdowns. He gives the Utes a proven throwing threat. Running back, Tavion Thomas rushed for 107 yards and showed he is a playmaker. There were solid contributions from Dalton Kincaid and Solomon Enis at the receiver position and there is confidence that the offense can be more productive than in past years.
The Utes are always good, if not great, on defense and this year looks like more of the same. Linebackers, Devin Lloyd and Nephi Sewell were very good on Saturday. They held Weber State to 53 yards rushing but BYU will be a much better barometer to how good their defense is. The one thing we do know, is that they are consistently physical and fundamentally sound.
This rivalry game is known as “The Holy War” and it is not a well-known rivalry throughout most of the country, but in Utah it is life and death between these 2 universities. BYU probably has more of a brand than the Utes but both programs have had their share of success. The Cougars are coming off a great year in 2020, however they lost a lot of players including top draft choice, quarterback Zach Wilson. Their schedule was relatively easy and they didn’t get a lot of respect. So, this is a game they have been waiting for and it is a chance to gain national attention and some recognition. Meanwhile, the Utes are ranked, and are considered a contender in the Pac-12. Utah is favored by 7 points and that might be a little high.
Now, let’s go to the NFL and get another possible upset selected by the other dude, Aaron.
The Denver Broncos open their season in New York to take on the Giants and they are a 3-point favorite to win over the home team. Teddy Bridgewater is listed as the starting quarterback as he won the job from Drew Lock. The Broncos’ running game is sound with Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte Williams. The receivers have talent and the young guys need to take a step up. Will Bridgewater be the answer at quarterback? That is the big question.
There is no doubting the Denver defense, especially if Von Miller has fully recovered from an injury that kept him from playing all of last year. The linebackers are good enough and they have a potentially great secondary. There is a lot to like on this side of the ball.
The Giants are a team that showed some signs of life in 2020 before a 3-game losing streak late in the year took them out of playoff contention. Of course, they were in contention in the woeful NFC East and wouldn’t have been in any other division. Nevertheless, they spent some money on free agents in the offseason and could make a push to contend in their division. All eyes are on the development of quarterback, Daniel Jones who is entering his 3rd season at the helm. He has shown flashes of brilliance and there is no doubting his talents. The front office went out and signed receiver Kenny Golladay to give Jones a new target to go along with steady Sterling Shepard. They are also counting on a healthy Saquon Barkley to return to form at running back.
Denver is favored by 3 points in this one and they, typically, aren’t a very good road team. This looks like a very good chance for the Giants to pull off an upset and beat the odds.
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