If you hadn’t noticed, Utah football has officially arrived to the Pac-12.
The 4th-ranked Utes are undefeated (5-0, 2-0) and thriving under head coach Kyle Whittingham behind a balanced offense and a stifling defense. Utah is a touchdown favorite over Arizona State (4-2, 2-1) Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium but that number doesn’t mean much to Whittingham.
This one does.
“There are two teams in the conference that we have not beaten since we’ve joined,” Whittingham told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a phone interview Thursday morning. “[ASU] is one of them.”
The Sun Devils hold a 4-0 series lead over Utah but each of the last two games have come down to the closing seconds. Although both ended in losses it helped serve notice to the rest of the conference and the nation that the Utes had balanced the football playing field after coming over from the Mountain West Conference in 2010.
“We’re off to a great start, obviously,” he explained to Cesmat. “We feel, without a doubt, we’ve made progress over the last five years and are more equipped, at this point and time, more than any time to compete.”
Helping Utah off to their fast start is senior running back Devontae Booker who will be atop Todd Graham’s to-do list game-planning for this weekend. The 5’11”, 212-pounder has 665 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Last season he tallied over 1,500 yards and 10 scores.
Are Booker’s numbers, dare we say, Heisman Trophy-worthy?
“In my opinion, yes,” Whittingham bluntly said. “I did a little bit of campaigning for him in the off-season because I felt he was under the radar and not being recognized as well as he should have been from the national pundits. We think he’s terrific.”
Many would say the same about Coach Whitt’s team through the first half of the season.
Graham is hoping to change those opinions Saturday night.