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Business as usual preparing for Oregon? Yes and no

Utah receiver Britain Covey says team has prepared like it always does, but adds that this week is different because of the ‘gravity of the situation’

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Utah Utes wide receiver Britain Covey carries the ball during the 2021 season opener at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.

Utah Utes wide receiver Britain Covey runs after a catch during season opener against Weber State at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. Covey and the Utes face No. 3 Oregon Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

This article was first published as the Ute Insiders newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each Wednesday night.

Utes wide receiver/punt returner extraordinaire Britain Covey started his career at Utah a long time ago — 2015, to be exact.

So he knows what he’s talking about when he ranks the magnitude of Saturday’s home game against No. 3 Oregon, which will be televised in prime time on ABC.

Utah, Oregon TV

Utes on the air

No. 3 Oregon (9-1, 6-1)

at No. 23 Utah (7-3, 6-1)

Saturday, 5:30 p.m. MST

Rice-Eccles Stadium


Radio: ESPN 700

“In all of the years I’ve played, I can think of one or two particular games where they have this kind of atmosphere even going into the week,” Covey said. “We’re going to do our best to block that out. But that gives you energy come game day. I’ve played in enough of these games to know that that really has an effect on you. I’m excited for that.”

Other huge games that Covey can recall include his first collegiate game, when Michigan came to Rice-Eccles Stadium and a game later that same year against Cal and future NFL quarterback Jared Goff. Another one was in 2018, when the Utes rallied to beat BYU in the second half.

“The crowd really helped us out,” Covey said of those games.

While coach Kyle Whittingham said this week it’s business as usual preparing for Oregon, Covey has a different perspective.

“At the end of the day, everybody knows that this week isn’t the same as every other week. We’re going to prepare the same because that’s what’s worked,” he said. “I think that’s what the difference is. This week isn’t the same because of the gravity of the situation, because of the respect we have for our opponent and how we’re going to need to be on top of things but our preparation is the same because that’s what’s been working.”

Numbers game

3-0: Record of Utah’s basketball team under first-year coach Craig Smith. The last head coach to start 3-0 to start his tenure at Utah was Jerry Pimm (1974-75).

38.4: Utah’s scoring average in Pac-12 games this season, No. 1 in the league.

466.4: Utah’s total offense average in Pac-12 games this season, No. 1 in the league.

From the archives

Extra points

  • How big is this showdown between No. 4 Oregon and No. 24 Utah? It’s on ABC (Deseret News)
  • Both Gach ready to make an impact for the Utes after return from Minnesota (Deseret News)
  • Utah football report card: No. 24 Utes so-so in win over Arizona (Deseret News)
  • 3 keys to the Utah Utes’ 89-56 win over Sacramento State (Deseret News)
  • How Utah earned its ‘ugly’ win over lowly Arizona (Deseret News)


Comments from Deseret News readers

I am excited to see if Utah can beat Oregon. Is it likely? NO! I think Utah has two tremendous liabilities — A young D and KWhitt calling the game. We all know it, the way it is in reality folks. If Utah wins the turnover margin and plays clean they have a shot at beating UO at home. The MUSS will also be a huge factor to the Utes’ advantage as well. Gooooooo Utes!!!!

— Utah Hawaii Alum

Um, CLEARLY a HUGE game. Oregon is ranked #4 in the nation, and at least last week, were #3 in the CFP Poll (the one that counts for the CFP selection). No team in the State of Utah has played, or will play, a higher ranked team this season. Additionally, Utah clinches the South with a win and will play in the CCG, winner being the Conf. Champ and going to the Rose Bowl. This is a very big game for both Utah and Oregon.

— ArizonaUte

What’s with the Utes special teams allowing blocked punts? Another momentum destroyer are penalty calls on big offensive plays. The best teams don’t allow this kind of stuff.

— Pathfinderman

Up next

Nov. 18 | 5 p.m. | Women’s volleyball | vs. Cal | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network

Nov. 20 | 5:30 p.m. | Football | vs. Oregon | @Salt Lake City | ABC

Nov. 21 | Noon | Women’s volleyball | vs. Stanford | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network