The Utah Utes, reigning champions of the Las Vegas Bowl against Colorado State (W 45-10), step into the limelight nearly untouched by this past year’s NFL Draft – with the exception of losing sack leader, Nate Orchard (18.5).
Despite that extraction, linebackers Jared Norris (2014 – 116 tackles) and Gionni Paul (2014 – 4 INT) will lace their cleats up on the defensive side of the ball. Meanwhile, backfield bruiser Devontae Booker (2014 vs. Oregon State – 229 yards, 3 TD) and Travis Wilson (2014 vs. Fresno State – 5 TDs on 11 completions) will return in offensive production.
Under head coach Kyle Whittingham (2005-present), the Utes have lost only one bowl game and missed out on the post-season only twice. In 2008, Whittingham carried home three awards (AFCA C.O.Y., MWC C.O.Y., Bear Bryant Coach Award) when then-QB Brian Johnson tossed 27 touchdowns and DB Sean Smith intercepted five bowls.
In its opening month, Utah is scheduled to meet Michigan (9/3), Utah State (9/11), Fresno State (9/19) and Oregon (9/26).