Bruce and Bruce

Episode 48 – The Rivalry Show

Episode 48 – The Rivalry Show

Listen Here! The much-anticipated Rivalry Week is finally here. Utah’s next scheduled game is in Provo, Utah against BYU, and vice-versa. Within a week the hype will be silenced, the preparation will be over, the plays will be run, the dust will have settled, and one team will stand triumphant over the other. I could not be more excited. Both Utah and BYU stretched their winning streaks to seven games last week, with significant wins over conference teams. Utah played at home, fending off a motivated New Mexico team with defense and luck. The Lobos had looked bad-to-shaky in past weeks, and were still fighting for the postseason. Utah was still swaggering after a dominating win over Wyoming, and with BYU looming on the horizon, was in danger of a potential let-down game. As has been the case in the past few weeks, Utah’s defense was the best squad on the field for either team. To be fair, New Mexico also has a good defense, and the offenses for both teams have been somewhat hit-or-miss this season, but it was the consistent play on defense that secured the game for the home team. Utah benefited from a few special teams mistakes by the Lobos, notably fumbled punts, and also managed a defensive touchdown as Koa Misi returned a fumble toward the end of the fourth quarter. The final score was 28-10, which means Utah’s offense was only responsible for three touchdowns. All things considered, that was probably not the best way to prepare for your in-state rivals. Meanwhile, BYU was in Laramie to take care of a fading Wyoming Cowboys team who had lost two of their last three, including the surreal 0-50 drubbing against Utah. The Cougars had not looked their best in past weeks, with offensive question marks and a shaky defensive secondary, but seemed to right the ship against the otherwise hapless Cowboys. Max Hall was shaken up by another big hit (note to BYU’s coaches: that’s something you may want to work on), but returned to close out the game and key a 35-10 victory. For the record, Wyoming has now been outscored 85-10 in two weeks, and lost three of their last four. In terms of offense, BYU looks solid. Hall still makes a few bad decisions and throws a few bad passes per game, but he looks solid going into the big game. The excellent backfield pieces of Harvey Unga, Manase Tonga, Joe Semanoff, and Fui Vakapuna anchor a formidable running attack, as well as contributing to a good overall passing game. The defense has played well, and it’s difficult to argue with allowing only 10 points on the road, but there are some holes in the secondary. Our best guess is that the game will be won between Utah’s vaunted defense and BYU’s potent offense. Even more specifically, it will come down to Utah’s quick defensive line against BYU’s solid offensive line. However, we made almost those same exact predictions last year, and after a crazy, exciting game, realized we were simplifying things a bit too much. So our best guess is probably that it’s anyone’s game. Will Kyle Wittingham’s big-game passion trump the clinical detachment of Bronco Mendenhall? Can Utah’s underrated running game evade the overexposed linebacking corps of BYU? Is Utah’s brave, powerful defense up to the challenge of BYU’s self-important, overrated offense? Am I allowing my cheering interest to compromise any objectiveness I may have had? The answer is yes to all of those questions. [Note: I am a fan of Cougar Football as well, but during rivalry games I have to suspend my usual trying-to-sit-on-the-fence trick. After this week I will be back to root for the Cougars in the Las Vegas Bowl.] I typically write that we have much more in the podcast, but in fairness, there isn’t much. We are all about the rivalry this week, although we do mention some of the other noteworthy items, including Utah State’s first win of the season (as reflected in our Top 3, below). Our Top 3 in Utah for this week: T-2. Brian Johnson T-2. Max Hall 1. Rob Myers We would love to hear from you! Please feel free to contact us at comments@utahsportscast.com.

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