Since there are 2 Thursday night games this week so today I will preview the Utah @ Oregon State game and also the pillow fight match up of the week in UNLV @ Utah State.
The first match up is the pillow fight of the week with UNLV visiting Utah State. First off this game is huge for both teams, because they are both so bad that this is a must win to give the team some type of confidence. These previews I will break down each category and give an edge to one team or another. As a side note the only way to see the UNLV/Utah State game is by going to WAC.TV if you live in Logan, where you can stream the game live. If you live in Las Vegas the game can be seen on Cox Cable channel 19.
Thursday 6PM Mountain Time Logan, Utah Romney Stadium. TV: WAC.TV
The Aggies are in a similar situation as the Rebels in that both teams have not had a good year in the past 5 years. The Aggies bring back (un)reliable at QB in Leon Jackson III who also is their punter. The Aggies did lose local Freshman standout Riley Nielson to a 2 year church mission, Nielson lead the Aggies to their only victory last year over Fresno State. Jackson is a Senior so their is experience there, but just take a look at this stat from last year before he was replaced 5 INT's returned for 5 TD's. The off season was not nice to the Aggies with one of the few bright spots, running back Marcus Cross, leaving the team to be closer to family in Texas. The only bright spot that the Aggies have are wide receiver and return man Kevin Robinson who is a threat when he gets the ball, but the problem is getting him the ball. The defense for the Aggies was just as bad as the offense because they gave up 38.5 points per game!! This will be one of the few chances that the Aggies will have a win all year.
The Rebels have a QB situation with Rocky Hinds still nursing his partially torn ACL from last season, and as reported early in the week Redshirt Freshman Travis Dixon will be getting the start. Dixon did get all the first team reps in spring ball, so he knows the offense. The wide receiving duo that includes last years Freshman of the Year in Ryan Wolfe will help the Rebels out. One thing the offense needs to do is get more touches to Wolfe in this spread offense the WR gets multiple carries from options to end arounds. This is the biggest game for both teams because whoever loses has a realistic chance of going winless all year, and for Mike Sanford a one or two win year would pretty much get him run out of town.
My prediction: UNLV wins in a close one
Here is the main event for Thursday night, it is Utah @ Oregon State.
Thursday 8pm Pacific Time Corvallis, Oregon Reeser Stadium. TV: Fox Sports NW & Utah
- Brings back the return of dual threat QB Brian Johnson who has been out of action since October 2005 when he was tearing up the league. The Utes get Johnson back, but in contrast lose their best offensive lineman Jason Boone to an ACL tear. The Utes on offense should have an explosive attack with receivers Brent Casteel, Freddie Brown, Brian Hernandez and others, but the real concern is the Utes running game. For the Utes to win they must have the running game be successful, it does not matter if it's Darryl Poston, Ray Stowers, or Matt Asiata but the group must be successful. The defense needs to step it up and the secondary which was weak last year even with Eric Weddle needs to clamp down on the receivers. The defensive line will not be as strong as normal, but will still be stellar, and the line backers need to stop the over the middle passes to be successful.
The Beavers are possibly the better team, but with rotating QB's in game one and star wideout Sylvester Straughter back in camp, but should not play this week. The Beavers do have a great offensive line and running back, but look for them to run the ball quite a bit and keep the ball away from the Utes potent offense. Mike Riley likes to have a balanced offense, but with rotating QB's and no Straughter I have a hard time believing that.
My predictions: Utes in a close one, this game could go either way, but with no clear QB for Oregon State the Utes should prevail.