A successful Saturday in Utah sports
Four in-state football teams played in pivotal games on Saturday and all four were successful.
BYU earned bowl eligibility with a win over New Mexico State.
Weber State won a close game against Idaho State, earning a No. 2 seed in the FCS playoffs.
Utah State kept its high AP ranking and moved closer to winning the Mountain West Conference.
Utah finished off Colorado and earned sole possession of the Pac-12 south division championship after Arizona State fell to Oregon.
BYU’s high-scoring Saturday
There was little question that BYU would come away with a win at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday night. The main concern is how polished BYU would look in its victory.
The New Mexico State game was the fourth start for BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. The freshman played sufficiently well enough to help get BYU bowl eligible. Unfortunately, Wilson did not play as well on Saturday as he has previously. Wilson’s pass completion rate, passing yards and rushing yards totals were smaller against NMSU than Boise State. Without question, the rivalry game is the biggest game so far of the freshman’s football career.
BYU’s capricious offense scored 45 points against a hapless NMSU defense. BYU’s players will need all the confidence they could get by putting up offensive big numbers on Saturday, scoring more than forty points for the second time this season. BYU scored 48 points against Hawaii on Oct. 13.
Weber State’s crowning Saturday
Weber State’s victory over Idaho State secured for the Wildcats the program’s best seed in the FCS playoffs. Weber State’s seed meant it has earned a bye for the first round of the playoffs. Weber State has posted strong performances in all of its season’s victories, frequently winning by double-digits. Two of Weber State’s three losses came against Utah and Utah State.
Weber State will enjoy the home-field advantage when it plays against the winner of the Southeast Missouri State and Stony Brook playoff game. Weber State head coach Jay Hill is likely to be high on the list of hires for big-name schools looking to revitalize a lethargic program.
Utah State’s dramatic Saturday
Utah State nearly lost against Colorado State … and then Utah State won. A dramatic, even historic, win over Colorado State sealed a perfect conference record until the high-powered Aggie offense marches up to Boise State on Saturday evening. A last play, last-second touchdown pass by Colorado State was overturned after the receiver stepped out of bounds. The player’s misstep knocked off a referee’s hat and knocked the stadium’s socks off.
Utah State is one win away from a Mountain West Conference championship and an NY6 bowl. Utah State is favored against Boise State. The Broncos from up north are not as dominant in past years. Boise State has shown itself to be vulnerable to teams with a stout defense and a proactive offense.
Utah State is ranked No. 14 in the AP Poll.
Utah’s rosy Saturday
Utah got a monkey off its back. Utah defeated its perennial boogeyman. It is finally true: Utah can win, and win big, in November. The rivalry game will test this new and improved Utah team. The last time Utah lost to BYU was the last time they played in November.
Utah is also the champion of the Pac-12 south division. Since the Pac-12 added two teams, Utah and Colorado, no team has won the south more than twice and no team has done it two times in a row. Utah has an outstanding quarterback in freshman Jason Shelley. Star running back Zach Moss is a sophomore and running back Armand Shyne is a junior. If Moss does the unexpected and stays with the Utes for one more season, Utah could have the necessary arsenal to win the south again in 2019.
Utah is ranked No. 18 in the AP Poll.
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