Stanford vs. Utah NCAAF Week 11 Preview: Utes Will Cruise at Home 

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Cam Rising #7 of the Utah Utes throws a pass against the Washington State Cougars. Chris Gardner/Getty Images/AFP.

No. 13 Utah looks to keep its Pac-12 title game hopes alive when the Utes host a struggling Stanford squad on Saturday.

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Stanford Cardinal vs. Utah Utes 

Saturday, November 12, 2022 – 10:00 PM EST at Rice-Eccles Stadium

ESPN has this late-night Pac-12 matchup. Stanford is playing out yet another disappointing season with questions swirling around Coach David Shaw. Utah is still in the running for the Pac-12 title game but might have to win out and has a major test at first-place and No. 6 Oregon next week. 

The Utes visited Stanford last year and rolled 52-7. Tavion Thomas ran for four touchdowns in the first half and TJ Pledger scored on a school-record 96-yard run.

Utah outgained Stanford 440-28 in taking a 38-0 halftime lead for the second-highest yardage discrepancy in the first half of an FBS game in the past seven seasons. It was the Cardinal’s most lopsided loss since a 57-7 defeat to Notre Dame in 2003. 

Utah leads the overall series, 6-4, and has won two straight, but Stanford is 3-1 all-time at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. The road team is 3-0-1 against the spread on the NCAAF picks in the past four meetings. 

Stanford Struggling Big Time 

What the heck has happened at Stanford (3-6). Not all that long ago, it was one of the Pac-12’s top programs, but it really has fallen on hard times in recent years, to be fair, it’s incredibly hard to recruit players there because of the crazy-tough admission requirements. 

The Cardinal come off a 52-14 home beatdown by Washington State last Saturday; five of Stanford’s six losses are by double digits. The Cougars scored touchdowns on their first three possessions and then put the game away with two more TDs in the final 2:09 of the first half. 

Within the first 35 seconds of action, linebackers Levani Damuni and Ricky Miezan, plus nickelback Patrick Fields all left the game with injuries for Stanford, which also was without its top three running backs.

Tanner McKee threw for 236 yards and backup QB Ashton Daniels ran for two scores for the Cardinal, who gave it away four times

Mitch Leigber

Mitch Leigber made his first career start at running back against Washington State. He was the fourth different Cardinal to start at running back this season and the ninth Stanford player overall to make their first career start this season.

The Cardinal have played a whopping 16 true freshman this year and six of them have already played in more than four games. 

Organization and Discipline

About the only good thing you can say about Stanford is the team is disciplined. The Cardinal’s 37 penalties committed are the sixth fewest in the country and fewest in the Pac-12. The team has had fewer penalty yards than its opponent in all nine games this season. 

I’ll bet Utah will be made aware of this: Stanford has defeated at least one Top-20 opponent on the road in eight of the 11 seasons under Shaw. Stanford had only one Top-20 road win in the nine seasons prior to the start of Shaw’s tenure. The Cardinal are 1-6 ATS in their past seven road games.  

Utes On Home Win Streak 

No. 13 Utah (7-2) won its third game in a row Saturday, 45-20 over visiting Arizona. The Utes rushed for a season-high 306 yards along with five touchdowns on 55 carries, led by Ja'Quinden Jackson, who finished with a career-high 13 carries, 97 yards and a touchdown.

Quarterback Cameron Rising was 13-of-25 for 151 yards and a touchdown. Rising now has 368 completions in his career, ranking ninth in program history. Jordan Wynn ranks eighth at Utah (381 completions from 2009-12). 

Utah's Numbers

Utah possessed the ball for 37:59 for a season-best time of possession margin of 15 minutes, 58 seconds. It was the largest TOP margin in favor of the Utes since Nov. 23, 2019 at Arizona. The defense had four fumble recoveries, the most by the Utes since 2011.

The recoveries went to defensive end Jonah Elliss, safety R.J. Hubert, defensive end Connor O'Toole and cornerback Zemaiah Vaughn (Vaughn's was on punt coverage).

The defense also held its opponent scoreless on a game-opening drive for the eighth time this season and forced a turnover for the third time (fumble at Florida, interception vs. Oregon State, fumble vs. Arizona). 

The Utes are allowing 16.6 first downs per game while producing 25.7. The defense has gained 19 turnovers this season, ranking 13th in the FBS. Utah is leading the Pac-12 in fourth down conversion percentage defense (.294), first downs defense (150), punt return defense (0.60), time of possession (33:40), total defense (344.7) and turnovers gained. 

Utes' Ranking

On the other side, Utah ranks fourth in the Pac-12 and 12th nationally in FBS scoring offense (39.0) while leading the league in time of possession. The Utes are also ranked 4th in the FBS, second in the Pac-12 in sacks allowed (0.78 per game), and 19th nationally and fourth in the league in team passing efficiency (156.01).

Utah has six games with more than 440 yards of total offense and is 6-0 when it outgains the opponent. 

Utah has won 13 consecutive home games and 24 of its last 25 in Salt Lake City (since Oct. 12, 2018). The 13 straight home wins is the second-longest streak under Coach Kyle Whittingham (short of 21 straight from Sept. 15, 2007-Oct. 23, 2010). 

Following the NCAAF odds, I expect a final of something like 41-17 but to be safe we’ll use BetOnline because it’s the only book at BMR with the spread under 24 points. Utah is 5-1 ATS in its past six at home.  

NCAAF Pick: Utah -23.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Utah -23.5 (-110)
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