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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Utah defense got the better of Stanford last time teams met, can Utes do it again?

Asked about the last meeting between Utah and Stanford and Utah coach Kyle Whittingham started reeling off a bunch of players who had crucial roles in the win 1996 Utah win, including running backs Juan Johnson (24 carries, 114 yds) and Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala (21 carries, 66 yds, 1 TD), receiver Kevin Dyson (6 catches for 75 yds) and quarterback Mike Fouts (18-of-32 for 222 yds, 1 TD).

The defensive coordinator didn't do too bad of a job either.

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The 17-10 win over the Cardinal was a signature victory for Whittingham's defense, which held Stanford to just 60 yards on 21 carries and shut out Stanford for three quarters.

The Cardinal had just two rushing first downs and were outgained by the Utes in total yardage 406-325 and had the ball only 20 minutes and 22 seconds while the Utes had possession 39 minutes and 38 seconds.

"They got some points at the end, but it was a good defensive game for us," Whittingham said.

Granted, that Stanford team wasn't one of the Cardinal's best as it finished just 7-5 while the Utes went on to finish 8-4, but that game still stands as a great example of how well Whittingham's teams can play defensively.

Now, 17 years later, the Utes will need a similar defensive effort if they want to upset the Cardinal on Saturday.

Think Whittingham and his defensive staff can pull it off again?

- Lya Wodraska

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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