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SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 15: San Diego State Aztecs pose with the school rivalry Oil Can Trophy after beating the Fresno State Bulldogs at Qualcomm Stadium on November 15, 2019 in San Diego, California. Kent Horner/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Kent Horner / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Pac-12 school Utah has fallen out of the Top 25 as the Utes close out their regular-season non-conference schedule Saturday night at San Diego State of the Mountain West. Which way to lean at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks

Utah Utes vs. San Diego State Aztecs 

Saturday, September 18, 2021 – 7:00 PM ET at Dignity Health Sports Park 

Because the Pac-12 plays nine conference games, this wraps up the non-conference portion of Utah’s schedule. The Mountain West plays eight conference games, so San Diego State has one non-conference matchup left after this, next week vs. Towson. CBS Sports Network will televise this.

It’s the 31st all-time meeting in football between these schools with Utah leading 17-12-1 and on a five-game winning streak in it. The last time the Aztecs defeated Utah was Oct. 15, 2005. They haven’t played since 2010. Utah is 8-6-1 all-time against San Diego State when playing in California. The road team is 5-2 ATS on the NCAAF odds at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks in the past seven overall in the series.

Trap Game For Utah? 

I could see Utah (1-1) being really flat here as the Utes fell out of the Top 25 following a 26-17 upset loss at rival BYU last Saturday and ahead of their Pac-12 opener next Saturday vs. Washington State. Utah had been on a nine-game winning streak in the Holy War vs. BYU.  

In the first eight minutes of the game vs. BYU, Utah committed two turnovers and a three-and-out on offense and that mostly set the tone. The Utes at least fought back from a 23-7 fourth-quarter deficit to make it 23-17 with about nine minutes left, but a BYU 21-yard field goal with 3:17 remaining clinched it. 

Senior quarterback Charlie Brewer finished 15-for-26 passing for 147 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the loss. The Baylor transfer went over 10,000 career passing yards, becoming one of only two active FBS quarterbacks (Western Kentucky’s Bailey Zappe) to achieve the feat. Freshman running back Micah Bernard carried the ball 12 times for 146 yards, both career-highs. Utah has now had a 100-yard rusher in its last five games.

The loss dropped Utah to 27-2 in regular-season non-conference games since joining the Pac-12 in 2011. The only other loss was against Utah State in 2012. Per usual, the Utes are a strong defensive team, ranking third in the Pac-12 in passing yards allowed (181.0), and fourth in total defense (321.5) and scoring defense (21.5). 

The Utes are 299-154-11 all-time against Mountain West Conference opponents. They haven’t played one since 2017. Incidentally, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the now-open USC job, but BetOnline doesn’t list Whittingham among its betting options on the NCAAF odds.  

Utah is just 2-6 ATS in its past eight as a favorite and 1-8 ATS in its past nine September games.  

Aztecs Love Playing Pac-12 

Just a reminder that San Diego State is playing its home games currently outside Los Angeles in Carson, Calif., as Dignity Health Sports Park is home to the LA Galaxy of the MLS. SDSU is in the process of building a new stadium in San Diego.  

The Aztecs (2-0) opened their season with a 28-10 home win over a bad New Mexico State team and then went on the road last Saturday and beat Pac-12 school Arizona 38-14. Senior QB Jordan Brookshire was 10-for-14 passing with TDs vs. the Wildcats and also rushed for a score. Senior Greg Bell posted his second consecutive 100-yard rushing game (17 carries, 125 yards, TD) and now has six 100-yard rushing games in his nine games played at San Diego State. The Aztecs had 271 yards rushing and are 49-2 the last 51 games they have rushed for at least 200 yards.

Charlie Brewer #12 of the University of Utah Utes warms up. Chris Gardner/Getty Images/AFP

They are also now 6-2 against Pac-12 teams since 2016 despite playing five of those games on the road and being an underdog in six of the eight. In fact, the last 16 times SDSU has been an underdog against anyone, it has won the game outright 10 times. It’s the third straight season that SDSU has started 2-0. The school last started 3-0 in 2019 – each of the past three 3-0 starts have resulted in double-digit win seasons. 

San Diego State is also a very good defensive team. Since the start of last year, it ranks first nationally in scoring defense (14.4), second in rushing yards allowed per game (81.0), rushing TDs allowed (13) and yards per rush (2.8), third in total defense per game (287.4) and passing efficiency defense (111.2), seventh in interceptions (30) and 18th in turnovers forced (44). 

The Aztecs are 12-5 ATS on the NCAAF odds in their past 17 as underdogs. I’ll be taking the points in what should be a low-scoring game.   

NCAAF Pick:  (visit our Sportsbook Review)


*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.