Although Stanford has played a demanding schedule and is a member of the Pac-10 Conference, Utah Coach Jim Fassel says he doesn't consider his team outmanned in today's 2 p.m. (MDT) game at Stanford Stadium.
The Utes, 2-5, have been understaffed in other games, yet fared fairly well. Against No. 3-ranked Nebraska, Utah lost just 42-30.This time it is a much less formidable opponent - Stanford. The Cardinal is 1-5 this year. "They're playing a lot of young kids and they've had some injuries," said Ute Coach Jim Fassel. "But I think we're going to match up fairly well. I don't see us outmanned in any area and I don't see us dominating them. I don't see a mismatch with their team speed or physical-ness being a concern."
Utah arrived in the quake area Friday afternoon, landing at San Jose Airport and busing to Palo Alto where the Utes were housed. The game will mark a homecoming for Fassel, who coached five seasons as an assistant at Stanford. It was Fassel's success at that school, where he tutored superstar quarterback John Elway, that helped him become Utah's head coach.
Stanford has lost three straight and is hoping to reverse its fortunes with the non-conference affair. "Utah is very explosive. (Scott) Mitchell is one of the best guys in the country," said Stanford Coach Dennis Green.
It has not been a good year for the Cardinal. About eight players who were projected starters after last spring are missing now. Among those who aren't expected to play this week are honors candidate Rob Hinckley at outside linebacker and running back Jon Volpe.
Stanford started six freshmen in last weekend's loss to Washington State.
Stanford has allowed 29 sacks this year, compared to 24 by Utah.
Utah is suffering from a series of minor injuries. Cornerback Sean Knox is on "probable" status with a sprained ankle; quick tackle Brian Anderson is questionable with an ankle injury; and center Jeff Parson remains questionable with a knee injury. Defensive lineman Sam Tausinga is back off an injury, but several players, including wide receiver Brian Rowley, have been hit by the flu this week.
A week after losing to Wyoming, Fassel remains concerned about the Ute defense's penchant for giving up big plays. "We need to play 60 minutes of consistent football and prevent giving up the big play," he said.
Stanford's big problems have been allowing sacks (28 this season) and rushing. The Cardinal has only averaged 57 rushing yards per game.
The contest will be aired Saturday night on taped delay, at 10:30 on Channel 7.