"We just expect to face very skilled guys each week," he said. "It seems like every week in the Pac-12, we face a top-round draft choice, or several of them, and this week will be no different."
The stats back up his statement as Kelly is one of four Pac-12 quarterbacks ranked in the Top 12 of total offense. Oregon State's Sean Mannion is fourth (374.0), Oregon's Marcus Mariota is ninth (349.0) and Washington State's Connor Halliday is 12th (335.0).
Facing such firepower exposed Utah's secondary as a vulnerable spot early in the season, but the Utes have steadily improved and are looking forward to Saturday's challenge, cornerback Davion Orphey said.
"They are good and fast and physical and have a good offense all the way around," he said. "But we think we have a good defense too, one of the best in the Pac-12. If we do what we can do, we'll be fine."
The one place in which the Utes continue to lag is in takeaways, with just two interceptions on the season.
Whittingham has been vocal that the Utes must do a better job in creating turnovers, something Orphey said he and the other defenders have taken to heart.
"We've done a lot of ball drills when the ball is in the air going up and just having the mental attitude it's our ball," he said. "With this game, I think we're going to come down with some turnovers."
The Utes are participating in a national campaign in which the Utes are wearing helmet decals to honor the nation's military, first responders and veterans.
The decals feature a drum and feather symbol with the "Block U" in red white and blue with red and white stripes on one side of the "U" and white stars on the blue background on the other side of the "U."
Military families and personnel can receive a special ticket to Saturday's game by calling (801) 587-9894.
This and that
Utah representatives will be collecting donations for the Utah Food Bank at the Guardsman Way tailgate lot. … Trevor Reilly is tied for third in the nation in fumble recoveries with three. ...This is the seventh time in school history Utah has faced three ranked teams in a season.