Utah football: Utes like defensive matchup with ASU
Since they have a bye, the Utes are spending most of this week focusing on their issues on both sides of the ball. However, they've seen enough of No. 25 Arizona State to know their next game will be a challenge.
The two teams kick off at 2 p.m. on Nov. 9 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
The Utes trail in the series 18-6 and haven't beaten the Sun Devils since a 31-28 win in Tempe in 1976.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham described the Sun Devils as a "complete team."
However, Whittingham does like how Utah's defense matches up with ASU even if the Sun Devils' offense is averaging 45.4 points a game.
Utah is giving up 25.8 points a game.
"I think our defensive line matches up with anyone in the conference and that's been proven so far every week out," Whittingham said. "Our linebackers are playing well."
Utah's linebackers have the added benefit of the presence of Jacoby Hale, who missed two games with an ankle injury.
He finished with three tackles against USC.
Utah quarterback Travis Wilson had a solid practice Tuesday and Whittingham is hopeful the sophomore can play his way out of his slump.
"He is feeling a lot better," he said. "Travis put five good games together before the last couple of weeks. He doesn't make excuses, but he was not himself."
The cuts and sprained finger Wilson had are starting to heal, which probably helps the mood all around.
"I've never seen a hand take such a thrashing," Whittingham said.
The Utes are 6-3 under Whittingham after byes, including this year's loss to UCLA. Whittingham said he doesn't think there is any magic in the way the Utes treat the bye week.
"When talking to other coaches it's pretty similar," he said. "I don't think there's a whole lot of variance with teams during the bye week. They get some work done on the field, give their players some down time to get rested up. I don't think there's anything we do unique or different than anybody else."