clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Utah vs. Arizona: Five Utes to know

Utah has a talented defense, and a workhorse at running back.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats have beaten the Utah Utes three straight times, but this game isn't supposed to go like the others. The Utes are ranked 10th in the country, and the Wildcats are... well, not ranked that high.

As the best team in the Pac-12 South, Utah understandably has some talented players, and here are five of them to look out for:

Devontae Booker, RB, #23

When I think of DeVontae Booker, I think "workhorse". Booker has had 20+ carries in every game this year except one, and he's had 30+ carries in four games. Overall, he's averaging 4.8 yards per carry and has ran for 1,116 yards -- the 11th best total in the entire country and third in the Pac-12. He's also third on team in receiving with 303 yards. He's consistent, effective, reliable, and simply carries the Utah offense at times.

While Arizona may have handled Utah last year, they sure didn't contain Booker. He ran 142 yards on just 23 carries. It's likely that he'll put up similar numbers this year.

Gionni Paul, LB, #13

If you want to talk about a player that has a Scooby Wright-esque impact on a defense, Gionni Paul is that guy.

He simply lights up the stat sheet. He has 84 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, three sacks, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles. It's easy to see why he has numbers like that when you see some of the performances he's had. He had a 17 (!) tackle game against USC, a 14-tackle game against Michigan, and an 11-tackle game against Arizona State. And in Utah's last game against Washington, he had nine tackles, two sacks, and an interception.

Travis Wilson, QB, #7

It's no secret that the Utes' quarterback situation isn't what you'd expect from a top-ten team. Travis Wilson is not a great QB by any means, but that doesn't mean he's not serviceable. Wilson has completed nearly two-thirds of his passes this season, and has over 1,500 passing yards along with 336 rushing yards, plus 16 total touchdowns (10 through the air, six on the ground). He's not a guy that will carve up a defense like Luke Falk or Jared Goff will, but he's still effective at moving the ball in his own right.

Still, with Booker in the backfield, Wilson still represents the weak link of the Utah offense. You'd much rather have him throwing the ball than Booker running it, so the Wildcats may just have to force Wilson to do just that. Wilson has struggled in the past against the 'Cats, and Arizona will need that to happen once again if they're going to get the upset.

Britain Covey, WR, #18

Not only does he have an awesome name, but Covey does a lot of good things on the football field too. He leads the Utes in receiving yards (450), and leads the entire Pac-12 in punt return yardage (248). He's taken one punt return for a touchdown. His best game this season came against USC when he caught seven passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns.

Arizona has never faced Covey because, well, he's an 18-year old true freshman. Not many true freshmen make the type of instant impact that Covey has.

Marcus Williams, S, #20

Utah's secondary is full of talented players. They have four defensive backs with two or more interceptions. The man that leads not only the team, but the Pac-12 conference as well, is Marcus Williams. He has four interceptions this year which is the 14th best mark in the entire country. Three of his picks were in some of Utah's most impressive wins -- vs. Cal, vs Michigan, at Oregon.

Anu Solomon -- up until the Washington game -- had done a tremendous job of protecting the ball. He didn't throw a single interception until that game, but he has since thrown three picks in his last two games. If there's any team in the conference that he has to be careful about where he slings the ball, it's this Utah team.