Utah football: Utes say they are tough too
Utah football notes • Defense has been stellar against the run.
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A lot has been said of the toughness of the Air Force football team this week, but no one should forget about the Utes' toughness either, said defensive tackle Sealver Siliga.

Utah's defensive line hasn't been tested much since the opener against Pitt, and Siliga said he and his teammates are eager to show their mettle against the Falcons.

"They are going to come and hit us in the mouth and keep hitting us in the mouth," he said.

"It's Air Force, so they don't change anything. It's going to be old-fashioned football."

The Utes are coming off one of their best showings against the run, having held CSU to just 28 yards.

Air Force leads the country averaging 326.5 yards on the ground and stopping that attack is a challenge that has Siliga smiling.

"We love it when running teams come in because we get more action," he said. "It's man on man who is tougher."

Utah's defensive line has size on its side, since the average weight of its starters is 277.5 pounds. The average weight of Air Force's offensive line is 261 pounds.

He remembers

Air Force is ranked just seventh in the MWC, giving up 205.8 yards a game on the ground, while Utah is third in the league rushing, averaging 193.3 yards a game.

However, the Utes had a season-low 267 yards of total offense last year against the Falcons. Utah's performance was hurt by eight fumbles, but Utah running back Eddie Wide remembers the game for Air Force's defensive effort.

Wide rushed for 121 yards on 17 carries and remembers the yards as some of the hardest he has earned.

"That was my first real game playing them," he said. "I remember they are disciplined and run to the ball and gave 100-percent effort on every play."

A key for the Utes on Saturday could be the two-headed beast of Utah's running game with both Wide and Matt Asiata available.

Wide said he is fresher than he has ever been at this point in the season thanks to splitting time with Asiata.

"It is helping out a lot," he said. "Both of us should be fresh and ready to go."

This and that

Air Force coach Troy Calhoun is 19-10 in MWC games and is 18-4 in games played at Falcon Stadium. … The Falcons are 4-1 this season and 20-4 under Calhoun when they have a 100-yard rusher.

lwodraska@sltrib.com