Utah gets an early start to the FCS slate in 2017, and kicks off the theme of playing excellent FCS teams- the Fighting Hawks are ranked 10th in the FCS preseason poll.
G.A.W.P. gives the Utes a 99.9% chance of earning the victory in this game- For all of UND’s legitimate cred, the fact remains that one of these teams is a PAC 12 team and the other one is not. There’s a virtually insurmountable talent gap.
Storylines to Watch:
Tyler Huntley’s debut- Utah’s staff shocked most observers when they announced that true sophomore QB Tyler Huntley would start over experienced PAC 12 veteran Troy Williams. Huntley, notoriously brash and confident, will no doubt be looking to make a statement early in this game. Ute fans no doubt hope he’ll only have the first quarter or two to make it happen.
New Look Offense- Rising star OC and former record-setting Cal quarterback Troy Taylor has rebuilt the sluggish Utah offense. The new system will get its first live run on Thursday, against a defense that figures to be reasonably stiff, even with the talent gap.
Expect a workmanlike deconstruction of the North Dakota Fighting Hawks.
Even when the Utes have been good, they haven’t blown out mediocre opponents, preferring to grind them down and shut them out. The model has a shutout as the most likely of all individual score results, although overall the Hawks are projected to score 72% of the time.
North Dakota shouldn’t even sniff victory in this game. If Utah does what they are capable of, it’s going to be pretty brutal. It’s a near certainty that the Utah Utes come away from this contest with an easy win.
North Dakota 6, Utah 36