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What opponents are saying about BYU, Utah and Utah State


SALT LAKE CITY — With college football's first weekend approaching, you've likely gobbled up every piece of information on your Utes, Aggies and Cougars.

Here's what media outlets from the teams playing the local squads have to say leading up to Week 1:

WEBER STATE at UTAH (Thursday, 6 p.m.) The Utes seem to return a stronger team than what Cal put on the field last year, starting with the 1-2 punch in the backfield. Literally. Jersey No. 1, junior quarterback Tyler Huntley, and jersey No. 2, junior running back Zack Moss — former high school teammates in Florida. Huntley is a dynamic dual-threat presence and Moss is expected to play in the NFL.

WSU coach Jay Hill: “They’re everything the hype says they are.”

UTAH STATE at MICHIGAN STATE (Friday, 5 p.m.) As of Tuesday night, Michigan State was as a 23.5-point favorite against Utah State, which is coming off a 6-7 finish last year. The Spartans return nearly every playmaker on an offense that is focused on increasing production. Defensively, Michigan State brings back one of the top groups in the country after finishing No. 2 against the run and No. 7 in total defense last year.

Running back LJ Scott: "We're ready to go. I'm honestly excited to see what we can do as Spartans, away from our defense. We've got some great guys over there, some dawgs over there. I feel like we will have the best defense in the country this year so I'm very excited to see what our team holds and what we're capable of. I'm ready to see guys step up in critical moments and get the job done."

Quarterback Brian Lewerke's hopes vs. USU: "Just putting up points — as many as we can. Getting some explosive and big plays.”

Detroit Free Press: “The Aggies averaged 30.2 points and nearly 400 yards of offense last season, including 171.4 per game on the ground. However, gone is leading rusher LaJuan Hunt, who led Utah State with 828 yards and 11 touchdowns and was a weapon out of the backfield in the passing game with 30 catches for 187 yards and another TD. Converted wide receiver Gerold Bright is competing for the top running back job against Darwin Thompson, who rushed for nearly 1,400 yards and eight TDs to earn junior college All-American honors at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M last year.”

BYU at ARIZONA (Saturday, 8:45 p.m., ESPN) The Cougars are coming off a 4-9 season and (are) looking to turn things around in Kalani Sitake’s third year as head coach. BYU struggled mightily on offense last year, averaging just 17.1 points per game. But their defense was stout, surrendering just 24.7 points per contest, the 47th-best mark in the country.

Arizona wide receiver Cedric Peterson: "The Mormons are a little bit older than most teams we play against, but the main thing is their d-line. They’ve got a few bigger bodies up there that we haven’t really seen, but I think we can handle them."

Arizona safety Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles: "BYU has some solid receivers. They’re pretty good. They’re a little bit shifty, they’ve got a little bit of a wiggle. Matt Bushman is a big dude, everyone knows him from Sabino."

ZonaZealots p**rediction:** "Arizona 27, BYU 17. I see this one starting out slow, but ending with a bit of fireworks. BYU, I think, will be better than anticipated and will give the Wildcats a solid test, but Arizona’s talent should ultimately come through.

"While I still consider Arizona to have the better talent and athleticism, the Cougars, however, have experience, maturity and tend to play the Wildcats tough. I’m just not sold on this one being quite the easy match like some believe."