The Pac-12 has been the most exciting conference in the country through the first month of the season. That continues on Friday night, when No. 19 Oregon State hosts No. 10 Utah in Corvallis, Oregon, for a top-25 test with considerable conference and national implications. Reser Stadium is an underrated home-field gem, and the magnitude of Friday's showdown will have the building rocking as the Beavers and Utes do battle in front of a national audience.
Seeking a potential Pac-12 three-peat, the Utes are off to an impressive 4-0 start following a defensive slugfest against previously unbeaten UCLA. Utah jumped out to a 14-point first-half lead and preserved the victory by forcing UCLA to lean on freshman quarterback Dante Moore. Utah's defense set the tone on Moore's first pass attempt of the game with a 21-yard pick six by linebacker Karene Reid.
The status of Utah star quarterback Cameron Rising is still up in the air as he recovers from his knee injury. He suited up last week against UCLA but did not see action. If he can't go, the Utes will turn to Nate Johnson, who finished 9 of 17 passing for 117 yards and a touchdown in the Week 4 win.
Oregon State enters off its first loss on the season, a 38-35 contest against Washington State in the first ranked matchup in the 98-game history of the storied rivalry. Oregon State fell behind by three touchdowns heading into the fourth quarter and couldn't complete the comeback despite a late surge.
Follow along with LIVE updates and highlights from Utah's game at Oregon State.
How to watch Utah vs. Oregon State live
Date: Friday, Sept. 29 | Time: 9 p.m. ET
Location: Reser Stadium -- Corvallis, Oregon
TV: FS1 | Live stream: fubo (Try for free)
Utah vs. Oregon State: Need to know
How does Oregon State respond? DJ Uiagalelei had a career performance with five touchdowns in his Oregon State debut vs. San Jose State, but the transfer quarterback from Clemson has regressed. In the last two games, Uiagalelei has only four total touchdowns and three interceptions, including a costly one against the Cougars. The winning formula for Oregon State is its lethal rushing attack, led by star RB Damien Martinez. Facing a stout Utah defense will be the biggest test yet, and the Beavers will have to take care of the ball.
Rising's status remains TBD: The status of Utah's star quarterback heading into Friday is still undecided. Rising has been rehabbing a torn ACL from the Rose Bowl loss to Penn State in January. Johnson and Bryson Barnes have filled in nicely for the Utes, but Rising will need to return for the Utes to be serious Pac-12 title contenders. One of Rising's greatest strength is his mobility, which will be tested whenever he returns.
Utah's defense has been lights-out: After four weeks of play, Utah is among one of the best defensive units in college football. The Utes rank No. 6 among all teams in scoring defense at 9.5 points per game and tied for No. 9 with UCLA in total yards allowed. Utah has been relying on its defense to win, and so far has been successful doing it. How long it can continue to do that without Rising remains to be seen.
Utah vs. Oregon State prediction, picks
Odds via SportsLine consensus
Rising may truly be a game-time decision this week. If he does play, will the Utes ease him back into the lineup with some designed packages or will he be given the green light to play the full game? Both teams like to run the ball and rely on defense, so the under 44.5 is intriguing. Even though this is a road game for the Utes, they still have the edge because of how good their defense has been through the first month of the season. This will be a close game, and Utah with the points is too good to pass up. Pick: Utah +3
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