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BIG 4 TEAMS FACE LEAGUE FOES THIS WEEK AND 3 NEED WINS DESPERATELY

SHARE BIG 4 TEAMS FACE LEAGUE FOES THIS WEEK AND 3 NEED WINS DESPERATELY

With all four of Utah's major college football teams back into full-fledged conference play this week, it is a good time to take inventory. In most cases, the shelves are bare.

The Utes, already running dangerously close to empty, hit the road for the first of three in a row away from home this weekend. Weber State, winless so far, travels to Montana where Wildcat Coach Dave Arslanian is predicting (again) the team's first win. Winless Utah State hosts a decent Cal State Fullerton. The only winner so far, BYU, is meeting with an old nemesis - Wyoming.Here is a look at this Saturday's games:

Wyoming (1-4, 1-1) at BYU (3-1, 1-0), noon - After sparring, literally, with Utah State last weekend, the Cougars will now be meeting someone more their own size. Though Wyoming is only 1-4, the Cowboys still entertain hopes of contending for the WAC title.

Wyoming has been BYU's personal problem for the past two seasons. But the Cowboys are caught in a dilemma over who should play quarterback, and struggling offensively. "We're in a quandary about that (the quarterback situation) now. If we had won those games, there would have been no question," said Cowboy Coach Paul Roach.

Roach is deciding whether to go with starter Tom Corontzos or backup Peter Rowe.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys continue to fight with their own demons, having been hurt by penalties and turnovers. They committed 11 turnovers in the past two games. "Now I kind of know what hell is like," said Roach.

Wyoming has dropped games to Louisville (28-21), Air Force (45-7), Washington State (29-23) and Oklahoma State (27-7) and beaten Hawaii (20-15).

BYU Coach LaVell Edwards says the Cougars are where they should be. "We're where we'd like to be going into the Wyoming game," said Edwards. "We're 1-0 in the league and we're healthy."

Utah (1-4, 0-2) at UTEP (1-4, 0-1), 7 p.m. - These two teams deserve each other. Both have shown poor defense and blocking and have miserable records. Utah has beaten only one team, Utah State, and is already out of the WAC race. UTEP has losses to Tulsa, Lamar (Lamar?!), Air Force and Arkansas. The only win was over New Mexico State.

Utah Coach Jim Fassel, trying to shore up his offensive line problems, says he will shift players around this week in an effort to give quarterback Scott Mitchell more time to pass. He has also delivered the obligatory coach's speech about character and pride, etc., in hopes his team can stage a late run, as it did a year ago. "I told the team life's full of a bunch of disappointments and failures. People who want to wallow in self-pity can continue on that track. I don't want to do that," said Fassel.

UTEP has fared about as poorly as Utah in the defensive area. In fact, the teams rank Nos. 101 and 102 nationally, with the Miners giving up about four yards a game more than the Utes. But the Miners are also struggling offensively, ranking just eighth in the conference in total offense.

Fullerton State (2-2-1, 1-0) at Utah State (0-4, 0-0) - If there is any consolation to the Aggies' ongoing problems, it is that they are back into the familiar (safe?) territory of the Big West Conference. They have lost their first four games by a cumulative score of 189-32. "It's hard to evaluate how good we are in terms of the Big West Conference because of the teams we have played against. We'll probably be able to evaluate that this week," said Aggie Coach Chuck Shelton.

The Titans are coming off a 34-20 win over Nevada-Las Vegas, overcoming what Coach Gene Murphy termed a series of self-destructive tendencies in early games. They have scored 75 points in their last two outings, relying heavily on a potent offense.

Most of the success is being credited to running back Mike Pringle, who leads the nation in all-purpose running, has rushed for 590 yards, caught 118 yards worth of passes and has 466 kick return yards behind him already.

If the Aggies are hoping to have luck on their side, that angle won't likely work, either. Pringle won $3,600 in the California lottery last Sunday, which also happened to be his 22nd birthday.

The Aggies will continue to go the course without quarterback Kevin White, who remains injured. Thus, they will be relying on Kirk Johnson, who has been inconsistent, but improving.

Weber State (0-4, 0-3) at Montana (3-2, 1-1) - After listening to several coaches talk about their plans at Tuesday's Big Four Huddle, Arslanian said he has plans, as well. "We've got some new things planned, as well," he said. "One of them is to win."

That won't be easy. The Grizzlies are led by quarterback Grady Bennett, who has thrown for over 300 yards in three of Montana's five games. Last week he went for 370 yards in a 30-24 loss to preseason favorite Idaho. Montana is averaging 444 yards offense every game.

Arslanian is contending - as he did last week - that this will be the Saturday to change directions. "Hang in there, baby, because we're going to get things turned around, and this week we're going to get it," he said.