After all three of Utah’s FBS programs recorded wins in Week 2, where could we see the Utes, Cougars and Aggies play during the bowl season?
Here’s a look at the updated bowl projections.
No. 12 Utah
In hot, humid conditions and facing a motivated Baylor team who were upset in Week 1, the Utah offense couldn’t get anything going against an improved Bears defense and seemed on course for an upset loss.
With starting quarterback Cam Rising out injured and backup Bryson Barnes struggling after leading the Utes to a Week 1 win over Florida, the visitors needed a spark.
Enter Nate Johnson, who led the Utes on two fourth-quarter scoring drives to secure the road victory and keep the team on course until Rising returns.
Johnson found the endzone on a 7-yard run to tie the score with two minutes to play, and running back Jaylon Glover followed with the winning 11-yard touchdown run with just 17 seconds to go.
After taking down a future Big 12 opponent, Utah now faces Weber State at home as they look to improve to 3-0 before a major test against No. 24 UCLA.
Projection: Valero Alamo Bowl
Opponent: Kansas State
Date: Thursday, December 28
Location: Alamodome – San Antonio, TX
Time and channel: 7:15 p.m. MT, ESPN
After struggling on offense in a Week 1 victory, it appeared the Cougars were destined for more of the same after the opening quarter against Southern Utah.
BYU fell behind 3-0 before Kedon Slovis threw an interception at midfield that gave the T-birds excellent field position to potentially increase their lead with just under nine minutes played.
But while the offense was working through the kinks, BYU’s defense stepped up and stopped SUU. The Cougars’ offense then found its groove, scoring the next four touchdowns to take a 27-3 halftime lead en route to a 41-16 victory.
While the passing game found some answers in the win, questions still have to be asked of BYU’s run game.
The Cougars only recorded 46 rushing yards on 23 carries in the game, and No. 1 running back Aidan Robbins only managed six yards on three carries. That type of output won’t cut it as BYU heads to Arkansas before kicking off the Big 12 portion of the schedule.
Projection: Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Date: Tuesday, December 26
Location: Chase Field – Phoenix, AZ
Time and channel: 7 p.m. MT, ESPN
Losing to a ranked Big 10 opponent on the road was expected for the Aggies in Week 1, much like a victory over an FCS opponent was anticipated in Week 2.
Utah State didn’t just win however, they dominated against Idaho State to pick up its first win of 2023.
USU won 78-28, scoring the fourth most points in a game in program history and the most in a single matchup since 1919. The offensive explosion included a 44-point second quarter, the most scored in any quarter in program history.
While quarterback Cooper Legas was nearly perfect (14/16, 125 yards, 2 TD) while playing the first half, the running game was the highlight of the Aggies’ offensive performance. USU racked up 591 total yards of offense, 380 of which came on the ground. Sophomore running back Robert Briggs Jr. led the way with 101 yards and a score, while Rashul Faison (95 yards, TD) and Davon Booth (83 yards, 2 TD) both had big performances for the home team.
The defense also played well, recording a pair of interceptions – both returned for scores – while allowing just 101 rushing yards to the Bengals.
Utah State now opens Mountain West action with a tough road matchup at Air Force. A win would go a long way for the Aggies’ hopes of reaching a bowl game.
Projection: New Mexico Bowl
Opponent: Lousiana Tech
Date: Saturday, December 16
Location: University Stadium – Albuquerque, NM
Time and channel: 3:45 p.m. MT, ESPN