Weber State Wildcats (0-0) vs. Utah Utes (0-0)
September 2, 2021 7:30 pm EDT
The Line: Utah Utes -36.5 / Weber State Wildcats +36.5 ; Over/Under: 46.5
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The Utah Utes battle the Weber State Wildcats in week 1 2021 college football action from Rice-Eccles Stadium on Thursday.
The Weber State Wildcats come into the 2021 season looking to build on yet another successful season in the FCS, going 5-1 including a perfect 5-0 in Big Sky play. Jay Hill’s squad’s stay in the nationals playoffs was short-lived though, as the Wildcats were bounced by Southern Illinois 34-31 in the first round. Bronson Barron is back at starting QB after throwing for 1,071 yards, 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on 55.3% passing while Dontae McMillan is hoping to take a step forward in remaining healthy and improving on his 385 rushing yards and 5 rushing scores from last season. The receiving corps got a big boost from transfers like Randal Grimes from USC and Jordan Allen from Tennessee as well as the majority of last year’s roster that has the failures of last year burned into their minds and will be looking for a different outcome this time around and hope to claim a 5th straight Big Sky title. As a team, Weber State averaged 27.6 PPG while allowing 20.3 PPG last season.
The Utah Utes will try to get back on track in 2021 after an odd 3-2 season in 2020. Kyle Whittingham’s group always seemed to be behind the 8-ball as when Utah’s season got going in November, their opponents had game time to prepare while the Utes went in cold. Still, the Utes managed a winning record and hope to build on that this year. Jake Bentley is gone from the program, but the Utes landed a nice transfer in Charlie Brewer from Baylor and Brewer will have the keys to the car right away. The receiving corps lost Bryan Thompson from last year’s bunch, but Theo Howard transfers in from UCLA and previously Oklahoma after making 132 catches for over 1,500 yards. Brant Kuithe and Britain Covey are still there as well, with Kuithe possessing a deep threat tight end status while Covey led the Utes in receiving yardage in two of the last three seasons. The Utes will be playing with heavy hearts after the death of up and coming running back Ty Jordan, and the loss of Devin Brumfield and Jordan Wilmore doesn’t make things any easier from an on-field perspective, but TJ Fledger does come in and the former Sooner averaged five yards per carry last season. On defense, the pass rush is ferocious and big once again, with Viane Moala, while Mike Tafua and Maxs Tupai flank Moala on the ends. Devin Lloyd’s back at linebacker after leading the team in tackles over the last two years while Nephi Sewell, Utah’s second-leading tackler, is also back and can do it all. The secondary is the big issue for Utah, after allowing 200+ yards in every game last season and being a big reason why the Utes allowed 21+ points in all five games last season. Even still, the Utes were top-3 in the Pac-12 in scoring defense. As a team, Utah averaged 30.2 PPG while allowing 26 PPG last season.
Weber State is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall while the over is 6-1 in their last 7 games in September. Utah is 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games overall and 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games in September while the under is 4-1 in their last 5 home games played on a Thursday.
I get the talent discrepancy between Weber State and Utah, but I want to see how Charlie Brewer adjusts to his new digs in Utah before really investing in the Utes to pound on teams. Weber State was one of the better FCS teams last season and while this will be a step up, I think Weber State can hang within five scores. Give me the Wildcats and the points here.