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Junior Ty Montgomery is the "go-to" guy for the Cardinal and has stepped up big this season. He has only one game over 100 yards receiving, but has at least three catches in all five of Stanford’s games and has found the end zone in all but one of their contests. Montgomery has 383 yards, five touchdowns and is averaging nearly 17 yards per catch this season. Sophomore Michael Rector and junior Devon Cajuste are solid options as well, combining for 370 yards and five touchdowns of their own.
The Utes offensive line struggled against the tough defensive front of UCLA, giving up three sacks and yielding to pressure in critical moments when Wilson needed a clean pocket. Four of the seven sacks surrendered this season by Utah’s offensive front have been against Pac-12 opponents, a significant problem going into a game against one of the best defensive fronts in the conference. Utah ranks fifth in surrendered sacks this season.
Stanford’s offensive line is one of the strengths of this team, led by mauling guard David Yankey. The unit has given up five sacks and three have come against conference opponents, but the team still ranks second in the conference in sacks surrendered.
Defensive Line and Linebackers
Utah has quietly built one of the most dominant defensive fronts in the conference. While Stanford, UCLA and Arizona State get most of the analyst love, Utah is leading the Pac-12 with 18 sacks for 113 negative yards. The unit had three sacks against UCLA and seven tackles for loss, bringing the total to a staggering 38 tackles for loss on the season. Trevor Reilly, Tenny Palepoi and Nate Orchard continue to shine, but the Utes have new emerging sources of defensive pressure in Jason Whittingham, Jacoby Hale and Jared Norris. Last week against UCLA, the trio combined for 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.
Stanford is right there with Utah near the top of the conference in quarterback takedowns with 14 sacks and 37 tackles for loss of its own. Seniors Josh Mauro and Trent Murphy have been a terror off the edge, racking up 10 tackles for loss and seven sacks for the Cardinal, while senior Shayne Skov continues as the heart of the defense with 43 tackles, four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Overall, Stanford has seven different players with at least three tackles for loss. The experience difference will be the key in this game as most of the front seven of Stanford has battled through tough Pac-12 games year in and year out.
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