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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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WSU game not out of reach for Utes

Saturday's game looks like a perfect setup for Washington State to clinch bowl eligibility against a Utah team on a 4-game slide and using a backup quarterback.

It almost looks a little too perfect and I'm tempted to pick the Utes to win this game, but ultimately I am going with WSU for one reason - Utah's run game, or lack of it.

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As Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said, the Utes' run game didn't do its part to help Utah against Oregon. Granted, Oregon's defense is a lot better than WSU's and the Utes were without Kelvin York, who missed the game with a knee injury.

York should play Saturday, but I'm still not a big enough believer in Utah's run game to pick the Utes.

That being said, this does look like a winnable game for the Utes if they can get some production out of York and Bubba Poole.

The defense must do it's part too and rattle WSU quarterback Connor Halliday. He has tossed 19 interceptions this year to go with 22 touchdowns, so this would be a prime opportunity for the Utes to get some takeaways. The Utes only have two interceptions this season, a number Whittingham called "ridiculous" this week.

Utah needs its defensive line to be disruptive enough that Halliday makes some bad decisions that are turned into picks.

Get a few turnovers here and there, find some sort of run game and Utah's hopes of bowl eligibility could be alive and well.

- 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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