With his team opening the season last Thursday, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham had plenty of time to watch college football over the weekend, including this week’s opponent — BYU.

The No. 24 Utes defeated Weber State 40-17 at Rice-Eccles Stadium and they take on the Cougars Saturday (8:15 p.m., MDT, ESPN) at LaVell Edwards Stadium. 

Utes, Cougars on the air

No. 21 Utah (1-0)

at BYU (1-0)

Saturday, 8:15 p.m. MDT

LaVell Edwards Stadium


Radio: ESPN 700

BYU beat Pac-12 foe Arizona 24-16 last Saturday night in Las Vegas. 

While Utah is vying for its first Pac-12 championship, all its attention is on the Cougars this week. 

“We’re only concerned with BYU now,” Whittingham said during his press conference Monday morning. “That’s our primary focus.”

What did Whittingham think about Cougar quarterback Jaren Hall, who completed 18 of 28 passes for 198 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions against the Wildcats? 

The message veteran Utah players are sharing with their teammates who’ve never faced BYU

“He’s very mobile. They move the launch points a lot with him. There’s not a lot of drop-back passing. It’s play-action boots and getting outside the pocket,” Whittingham said. “He’s a guy that’s got good speed. His mobility is really good. He did a nice job managing the game for them on Saturday.”

BYU didn’t target their tight ends — Isaac Rex, Masen Wake and Dallin Holker — much against Arizona. 

“I can’t tell you why they didn’t go to them more than they did,” Whittingham said. “It didn’t appear on film that Arizona was doing anything in particular to take them away. As the game unfolded, they were not a big part of their production in that particular night.”

BYU running back Tyler Allgeier scores a touchdown during the Vegas Kickoff Classic against Arizona in Las Vegas on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

One of the most intriguing matchups Saturday will be between Utah’s front seven and Cougar running back Tyler Allgeier, who has been named to the 2021 Doak Walker Award watchlist. 

Allgeier rushed for 1,130 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. Against Arizona, he ran 17 times for 94 yards and a touchdown. 

“He’s got quickness. He’s a big kid. He’s a thick kid, not necessarily tall. He’s 5-11-ish, 220 (pounds),” Whittingham said of Allgeier. “He gets positive yards and he has quickness. He got the majority of the carries. He’s the guy that they lean on heavily in the run game.”

Meanwhile, besides Arizona, Whittingham was able to do a little bit of scouting of future Pac-12 opponents over the weekend.

Did a starter emerge from the crowded running backs group during season-opening win?

He noted that the Pac-12 North posted a dismal 1-5 record — including Oregon hanging on to beat Fresno State at home and Washington falling to FCS opponent Montana at home. 

The Pac-12 South, on the other hand, went 5-1 over the weekend, including UCLA’s big 38-27 home victory over No. 16 LSU. The Bruins are expected to climb into the rankings this week. 

Whittingham said he watched almost all of that UCLA-LSU game, but added that it’s too early to make any evaluations about the Bruins, who are 2-0 on the season.

“You really don’t have perspective right now after one week. It takes four or five weeks, in my opinion,” Whittingham said. “They certainly look like a very explosive, much more physical team than they’ve been. I don’t know much about LSU and what they have coming back or any of that stuff. But you can definitely see that UCLA is a much better football team.”

Utah hosts the Bruins on Oct. 30. 

So the Pac-12 tallied a 6-6 overall mark, which Whittingham called “kind of a mediocre showing for the conference. But the South fared much better than the North. Some of the scores surprised you … There were some outcomes you didn’t see coming.”

The Utes will be looking to represent the Pac-12 well again Saturday. Utah has won nine straight games against BYU, dating back to 2010.