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Is this Utah’s year?

The No. 17 Utes have a chance to make history Friday night when they face No. 10 Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship game in Las Vegas

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Utah wide receiver Britain Covey (18) celebrates a touchdown at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Nov. 26, 2021.

Utah wide receiver Britain Covey (18) celebrates a touchdown with his teammates against Colorado in an NCAA football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021.

Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

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

The Utah football program has a chance to make history Friday night when it faces No. 10 Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship game in Las Vegas.

For the No. 17 Utes, they have an opportunity to secure their first Pac-12 title and their first Rose Bowl berth.

“It’s a huge game,” said cornerback Clark Phillips III. “We’re trying to make history.”

On Nov. 20, Utah crushed Oregon 38-7 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in a prime-time game on ABC.

This one is also on a huge stage — on ABC at the home of the Las Vegas Raiders, Allegiant Stadium.

“I’m excited because my dad is a Raider fan. He’s been talking about this stadium since it was even built. I’m excited to be able to play in it,” Phillips said. “I’ll be able to rub that in my dad’s face. I’m excited for that. It’s going to be a big game. We want games like this. We want to play on a big stage and we want to dominate the best.”

Wide receiver Britain Covey knows there will be plenty of Utah fans in attendance and so will ESPN/ABC commentators Kirk Herbstreit and Holly Rowe.

“What more can you ask for, than to play in a stadium like that? Kirk Herbstreit calling your game,” Covey said. “I’ve always wanted him to call games. Holly Rowe, too.”

Coach Kyle Whittingham is hoping for something of a home-field advantage Friday.

“Vegas is a lot closer to Salt Lake than Eugene. We hope we outnumber them,” he said. “The ticket sales, from what I understand, are going really well. If we could have a slight home-field advantage, that would be a big positive.”

For tight end Brant Kuithe, this game will mark his first trip to Las Vegas.

“It will be nice to gamble a little bit, if I can. I just want to make some money,” he joked. “I’ll play some blackjack if anyone wants to give me some money for it. I’m broke.”

On the field, the Utes are hoping to win big in Vegas on Friday night.

Numbers game

10: With a win Friday, Utah would earn its 10th victory of the season. The Utes have had five seasons with at least 10 wins under Whittingham.

218.2: Average rushing yards per game for Utah over its last six contests.

119.5: Average rushing yards allowed by the Utes over the last six games.

From the archives

Extra points

  • ‘We saw what we have to do to win those physical games,’ Craig Smith says after Utah’s loss to BYU (Deseret News)
  • 3 takeaways from No. 19 Utah’s 28-13 win over Colorado (Deseret News)
  • No. 11 Oregon, No. 19 Utah will meet again in Pac-12 title game (Deseret News)
  • How many will be participating in their final home game on Utah’s senior day? (Deseret News)


Comments from Deseret News readers

Win and go to the Rose Bowl vs Ohio St and lose and go to the Alamo Bowl vs. Oklahoma. It seems like a win-win especially after starting 1-2. However, I will be disappointed with anything short of the Rose Bowl.

— Spokane Ute

Lincoln Riley appears to be an up and coming coach, but he has squandered his opportunities in the CFP. Kind of like Brian Kelley at Notre Dame. ND has used its ‘privilege’ to get in to the CFP but have proven to be pretenders. Most often lose badly in the first round (could be the coaches have reached their ceiling) or when they do make the championship game, like ND did a few years ago, get obliterated .... I think roses look a lot better with the Utes unis than those awful green slimy colors of the DUCKS. Go Utes!

— armchairQBonthehill

Up next

Dec. 1 | 9:30 p.m. | Men’s basketball | vs. USC | @Los Angeles | Pac-12 Network

Dec. 3 | 4 p.m. | Women’s volleyball | vs. Utah Valley | @Provo | NCAA Tournament

Dec. 3 | 6 p.m. | Football | vs. Oregon | @Las Vegas | Pac-12 Championship game | ABC

Dec. 4 | 5 p.m. | Women’s basketball | vs. BYU | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network

Dec. 5 | 3 p.m. | Men’s basketball | vs. California | @Salt Lake City | Pac-12 Network