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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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Utes close, but are they close enough to beat Stanford?

Talking to Utah coach Kyle Whittingham shortly after the loss to UCLA, he switched his line of thought midstream to say how he really felt.

"We are so close," he said. "So close."

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But are the Utes close enough to being a good enough team to take down the Stanford Cardinal today?

While I do believe the Utes match up better with the Cardinal than they did the Bruins, I still think the Cardinal find a way to win this game. I might be more inclined to go with the Utes if Jake Murphy were healthy. The tight end has been a great safety net for quarterback Travis Wilson and having both Murphy and Westlee Tonga out really hurts the Utes.

Stanford's lines are extremely talented and it will be hard for Utah's offensive line to win that battle. Left tackle Jeremiah Poutasi and left guard Jeremiah Tofaeono have played as well as the coaches had hoped this year. Tofaeono has yet to give up a sack and Poutasi, a sophomore, looks every bit like the next great offensive lineman for the Utes.

Perhaps the duo can play well enough to prove me wrong.

The defensive line might have a better shot of winning their battle for the Utes.

Several times now Whittingham has said he thinks he has the best defensive line in the league, it's time for them to prove it against the most physical offensive line.

If Utah's defensive line, keyed by the play of tackle Tenny Palepoi, can shut down Stanford's run game and cause a turnover or two, who knows, the Utes just might have a chance.

It at least could be close.

- Lya Wodraska

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