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Utes Football will not rest players in rivalry game

Utah Utes defensive end Bradlee Anae (6) drags down Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Steven Montez (12) for a sack during the University of Utah football game against the University of Colorado at Folsom Field Boulder on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – No. 18 ranked Utes Football will not rest players in the rivalry game this Saturday when the team hosts BYU.

The University of Utah wrapped up its conference play and earned its first division title after beating Colorado on Saturday and Oregon taking down Arizona State.

Now the Utes have the game against BYU while they wait to see who they will be playing in the Pac-12 Championship game, Washington State or Washington. That left some to wonder if the Utes may take it easy and rest some players for this Saturday’s contest. Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham says that just is not going to happen.

“I’ve heard several people say you should do whatever you can to maximize your chances for the championship game and that is not our approach,” he said. “Our approach is one game at a time and we aren’t looking past (BYU), just like we wouldn’t look past any game that’s on our schedule.”

Whittingham says he believes he should never ask that of his players.

“As far as that strategy, thoroughbred horses love to run,” he said. “They are born to run and that is what they enjoy. Our players are warriors. They were born to compete and they want to play. I don’t know how you sell that to your players. Saying we are going to sit everyone and not let you have a chance to finish out the season, particularly the seniors… that is a tough sell.

“There are definite pros and cons on both sides of the argument, but I just don’t know how with the mentality of our players that you can do that.”

Whittingham says the team is motivated to win as well because the overall record has implications on where the team gets the opportunity to go for a bowl game.

“We know how it lays at (in the Pac-12),” Whittingham said. “But bowls look at your record.”

The BYU vs. Utah game will be at Rice-Eccles Stadium Saturday at 8:00 P.M.