Utah suffered their first loss of the season over the weekend at California and will have to deal with some lingering effects from the game going forward that could prove to be even costlier.
The school announced on Monday that senior center and team captain J.J. Dielman is out for the rest of the season with an unspecific “lower leg injury.” He left Saturday’s game against the Bears early in the first quarter and did not return.
The loss of Dielman is a big blow for the Utes as he’s their second center lost for the year and fourth starter overall to go down with an injury in 2016 alone. He has started every game for the team the past three years and was a second-team All-Pac-12 offensive tackle last season. He slid over to center prior to the opener after Hiva Lutui saw his career end with a knee injury over the summer.
Junior Lo Falemaka is expected to take Dielman’s place for the foreseeable future after doing so against the Bears.
Utah hosts Arizona on Saturday night in a Pac-12 South clash that has added meaning for the Utes considering they have never beaten the Wildcats since joining the league. Things might be a little tougher without Dielman in the lineup though, especially considering he did not give up a single sack in over 300 snaps this season.