Utah is coming off its worst defensive performance since a loss to San Diego State 19 years ago. The Aztecs, though, certainly don't appear to be in any position to extend those struggles.
The 23rd-ranked Utes look to win their 17th straight at home as they face the stumbling Aztecs in a Mountain West Conference matchup Saturday.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham is eager to see how his team comes back from a 55-28 loss to No. 4 TCU last Saturday. It was the most points the Utes (8-2, 5-1) had given up since a 66-14 loss to San Diego State on Nov. 3, 1990.
"The key thing now is how we respond," Whittingham said. "We're still working on a pretty good season."
Five wins at Rice-Eccles Stadium have helped Utah enjoy another successful season. The Utes have given up an average of 14.5 points in 16 straight home wins since a 20-12 loss to Air Force on Sept. 8, 2007.
Recent matchups with San Diego State (4-6, 2-4) haven't given Utah's defense much trouble, either. The Utes have given up a total of 28 points in three straight wins over the Aztecs, including a 23-7 home win Oct. 13, 2007
In the last meeting, Utah had 520 yards of total offense and never had to punt in a 63-14 victory Nov. 15, 2008. The Utes have an opportunity for another easy win over the Aztecs, who are allowing 30.0 points per game and have surrendered 85 in losing their last two.
Utah can take some solace from its last game in knowing it had a respectable performance offensively against TCU's vaunted defense. Though freshman quarterback Jordan Wynn was making his second start, the Utes' 28 points were the most allowed by the Horned Frogs all season.
"The game was a big positive for Jordan," Whittingham said. "He handled himself very well. He hung in there and showed a great deal of toughness and resiliency and was very poised. He did a solid job given the circumstances and learned a great deal. He will be a better quarterback because of this."
Wynn didn't get much help from Utah's running game. The Utes scored three TDs on the ground, but were held to 65 yards on 27 carries.
Eddie Wide was limited to 25 yards on 14 carries after reaching 100 yards in six straight games. He did manage to score, though, putting him in a tie for the MWC lead with nine TDs.
Wide has a good chance to rebound against a San Diego State team that has allowed 512 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground in its last two games. The Aztecs are allowing 167.4 rushing yards per game on the season.
San Diego State's defense was mostly to blame for its 30-27 loss to Wyoming last Saturday night. The Aztecs blew a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter, losing on a 43-yard field goal with 23 seconds left.
Brandon Sullivan was a bright spot for San Diego State, rushing for 105 y
ards and two touchdowns. The Aztecs had 157 yards rushing after averaging 58.5 in their previous four contests.
San Diego State is the seventh-worst rushing team in the nation, averaging 78.1 yards a contest.
The Aztecs rely heavily on sophomore Ryan Lindley, who has passed for 1,374 yards and 13 touchdowns with three interceptions in his last five games.
DeMarco Sampson has a team-high eight TDs catches, all over the last five games. Sampson has 38 receptions for 521 yards during that span.
Lindley was intercepted twice in last season's meeting with Utah. The Utes lead the series 15-12-1.