Could the Utah Utes Football team really lose to Idaho State?
Ok, I’ll admit it… the title of this column is a shameless hook. We all know that Idaho State is a warm-up game against a FCS team that the Utes scheduled much like every other Power 5 school does the first week, so it’s an obvious win. But given that it’s a win, what will the Utes need to accomplish in order to feel that this first game is a success?
In my opinion, if Utah does not accomplish all of the following, they can consider this game a loss:
- Tempo – Under Dave Christiansen, the Utes are looking to improve their supposed up-tempo offense from last year. In order to show Ute fans that they are really ready to compete at a fast pace, will we need to see them snap the ball every 20 seconds and we should expect to see around 70 offensive snaps by the end of the game (for context, the top 10 teams for tempo last year all had more than 75 snaps per game, including in state teams Utah State with an average of 76.5 per game and BYU with 85.4 per game).
- Consistent Execution – It is known that, especially for teams that are new to an up-tempo offense, execution can be an issue once the snap counts starts tallying up. In order to consider this FCS warm-up game a win, the Utes will need to execute consistently between the first and second teams (since we know the 1’s will not be playing the whole game). Utah must take care of the football – no interceptions by Wilson or Thompson and no fumbles from anyone. Both QB’s will need to have a completion percentage of at least 66% and we’d like to see their QB Rating close to if not surpass 200.
- Interceptions – Got to get one. Period. No excuses. Three interceptions all season last year tied Utah for last place in all of the Football Bowl Subdivision (probably close to last in the FCS as well). If the Utes can’t get a pick against an FCS team, expect the interception drought to continue this season and consider this game a loss.