As his Oregon State team gets set to visit No. 13 Utah Saturday, coach Jonathan Smith made it clear how much he admires Utes coach Kyle Whittingham and his program.

“Bunch of respect for what Utah has become. Obviously a really good football team the last few years, this year,” Smith said this week. “They make it physical on both sides of the ball, well-coached, good players, the quarterback’s good, got some talent, make it really hard defensively. It’s a tough place to play against a really good football team.”

Last year, the Beavers beat Utah 42-34 at Reser Stadium in Corvallis. 

The Utes went on to capture their first Pac-12 championship and they played in the Rose Bowl for the first time. 

Smith extolled the accomplishments of Whittingham, who’s in his 18th season at the helm. 

“What he’s done — he’s created an identity on both sides of the ball. It’s a style of player he recruits and develops there,” Smith said. “Really smart schematic football coach. These guys don’t make a lot of errors, they make the thing physical, and that’s been a mantra and identity for him for a long time.”

Smith also praised Utah quarterback Cam Rising.

“The guy’s a good decision maker with the ball, he’s accurate, he’s athletic. He knows that offense inside and out,” Smith said. “You can tell that at the line of scrimmage he’s getting them in the right play. He can make it physical in the run game and in the play-action pass. He’s got all of it. He’s a big-time player.”

Utes on the air

Oregon State (3-1, 0-1) at No. 12 Utah (3-1, 1-0) 

Saturday, noon MDT

Rice-Eccles Stadium 

TV: Pac-12 Network 

Radio: ESPN 700