#35 Utah Football 2020 Preview

Utah Utes
Overall Rank: #35
#5 Pac-12
Utah Logo 
Utah has won at least a share of the Pac-12 South title three times in the last five years. That is a pretty impressive run. Coach Kyle Whittingham has done a great job with this program, but it will not be easy to keep up that type of success in 2020. There are some huge holes to fill, but this is a Utes team that has enough depth to plug most of those holes and still compete in the Pac-12 South.
2019 Record: 11-3, 8-1
2019 Bowl: Alamo Bowl vs. Texas (L 10-38)
Coach: Kyle Whittingham (131-64 at Utah, 131-64 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Andy Ludwig
Defensive Coordinator: Morgan Scalley
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Devin Brumfield, RB, 263 yards
Passing: Drew Lisk, QB, 52 yards
Receiving: Brant Kuithe, TE, 602 yards
Tackles: Devin Lloyd, LB, 91
Sacks: Devin Lloyd, LB, 6.5
Interceptions: 3 tied with 1
Other Key Returnees: WR Jaylen Dixon, WR Bryan Thompson, OL Nick Ford, OL Simi Moala, OL Orlando Umana, DE Mika Tufua
Key Losses: RB Zack Moss, QB Tyler Huntley, WR Demari Simpkins, OL Darrin Paulo, DL Bradlee Anae, LB Francis Bernard, DB Terrell Burgess, DB Julian Blackmon, DB Jaylon Johnson, DL Leki Fotu, DL John Penisini
The biggest concern will be replacing both quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zack Moss. Huntley threw for 3,092 yards and 19 touchdowns with just four interceptions during his senior season. Moss rushed for 1,416 yards and 15 scores. He was also second on the team in receiving yards. There are options at quarterback. Jake Bentley comes to Utah from South Carolina where he started 33 games during his career. Cameron Rising is a dynamic dual threat signal caller who will push Bentley in the fall. There is some talent at running back too. Devin Brumfield and Jordan Wilmore showed some promise last season, but they have big shoes to fill and the Utes may be forced to go away from their power running offense that Moss thrived in. If Utah needs to throw the ball more, keep an eye on tight end Brant Kuithe and wide receivers Jaylen Dixon and Bryan Thompson. They will all need to have big seasons in order to boost the offense.
Utah ranked second in the nation in total defense, allowing a mere 269.2 yards per game. But this group will be much different. The Utes lose all five starters in the secondary. There is talent, but obviously not much experience. Clark Phillips enters the program as Utah’s highest ever ranked recruit and figures to make an immediate impact. R.J. Hubert should emerge as a talented safety once he is healthy. Meanwhile, Devin Lloyd will turn into the leader of the defense. The junior led the team with 91 tackles and added 6.5 sacks and 11.0 tackles-for-loss.
The Bottom Line:
This will be an interesting season in Salt Lake City. This is a program that has won at least nine games five times in the last six years and will be looking to reach their third straight Pac-12 Championship Game. The Utes should have some time to fill in those holes with a relatively easy non-conference schedule. Their second conference game is a big Friday night home game against USC. A trip to Arizona State on November 21st will be a huge game too and could decide the South champion.
Projected Bowl: Holiday Bowl
2019 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 201.4 (32nd in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 227.6 (69, 11)
Total Offense: 429.0 (48, 5)
Scoring Offense: 32.3 (38, 4)
Rushing Defense: 81.8 (3, 1)
Pass Defense: 187.4 (13, 1)
Total Defense: 269.2 (2, 1)
Scoring Defense: 15.0 (6, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.64 (17, 4)
Sacks: 2.36 (53, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 1.86 (54, 5)