Utah Football: 3 bold predictions for Friday night clash at Oregon State

Utah Football quarterback Nate Johnson readies a pass attempt during a 2023 college football game. (Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Football quarterback Nate Johnson readies a pass attempt during a 2023 college football game. (Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports) /
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A rare Friday night matchup between ranked opponents pits Utah football, currently ranked No. 10 in the AP Poll, against No. 19 Oregon State Beavers in their final meeting as members of the Pac-12.

The Utes are coming off a narrow 14-7 victory over the UCLA Bruins, while the Beavers are coming off a 38-35 loss to the No. 21 Washington State Cougars. This is a massive game for both teams, with Pac-12 championship implications on the line.

The Beavers, already 0-1 in conference play, cannot afford another loss if they want to push the likes of USC, Oregon, and Washington for what may likely be the final championship in the 108-year-old conference before conference realignment shifts teams out of the Pac-12 and into the Big-12, Big Ten, and ACC next season.

Utah, on the other hand, hopes to continue forward with an unblemished record before their next game, set to be played Oct. 14 at home against Cal.

Before either of these teams look too far ahead, they have to deal with each other, in what should be a sincerely intriguing matchup.

Let’s take a look at three bold predictions for this Pac-12 matchup.

1. Utah’s defense (and the weather) ensures this game hits the under

Current forecasts for the weather in Corvallis, Ore., call for an evening temperature low of 44 degrees and an 84 percent chance of showers at Reser Stadium. Not exactly ideal conditions for throwing the football and picking up chunks of yardage through the air.

This game will be decided on the ground in all likelihood, which means Utah’s top-ranked rushing defense will have an opportunity to take center stage in this matchup. The Utah football team is allowing opponents just 51 yards rushing per game this season, enough to be ranked the No. 4 rushing defense in the country entering Week 5. The Utes are allowing just 9.5 points per game this season, which is even more impressive when you see they’ve faced opponents like Florida, Baylor, and UCLA already this season.

The Utes have defensive end Jonah Elliss to thank for anchoring this stifling defense. The junior out of Moscow, Idaho, is making a name for himself this season, currently leading the country in total sacks this season with 5.5.