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SALT LAKE CITY - Utah (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) plays its first-ever Pac-12 home game on Saturday, Oct. 1, hosting Washington (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) in Homecoming. Kickoff is 5 p.m. MT in Rice-Eccles Stadium and the game will be televised on FSN (ROOT Sports in Utah). ROOT can be found on these channels locally: DIRECTV 683, Dish 414 and Comcast 52. Radio is ESPN700 AM (espn700sports.com). and SIRIUS/XM (channel 85).
- Utah (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) vs. Washington (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12)
- Date: Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011
- Time: 5:00 p.m. MT
- Site: Rice-Eccles Stadium (45,017, FieldTurf)
- TV: FSN (ROOT Sports)
- Radio: ESPN700 & SIRIUS/XM 85
- Series Record: Washington leads 6-0
- Last Meeting: 1979 (Washington 41, Utah 7)
- Kickoff Weather: Sunny and breezy, temps in the mid 80s
> Saturday marks Utah's 91st homecoming game and its first against a Pac-12 member since 1975 (vs. Arizona State when both teams competed in the Western Athletic Conference). Utah is 8-5 in homecoming games played in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which opened in 1998.
> Utah and Washington have not played since 1979 and have never played in Salt Lake City. Washington is the only Pac-12 school that Utah has never beaten (0-6). Complete series information can be found on page 2.
> Kyle Whittingham is 6-0 coming off regular-season byes, with victories over Wyoming (2005, 2007), Colorado State (2006, 2009), New Mexico (2008) and Iowa State (2010).
> Utah has won 10 games in a row following regular-season byes, last losing in 2002 at San Diego State. Utah's last home loss following a bye was in 1996 (to Brigham Young).
> Whittingham earned career victory No. 60 against BYU in Utah's last outing--a 54-10 Ute win in Provo on Sept. 17. Whittingham is 60-21 in his seventh year as Utah's head coach.
Utah is tied for the national lead in fumbles recovered (8), is tied for sixth nationally in turnovers caused (12) and ranks third in turnover margin (3.00; 12 takeaways to 3 turnovers). The Utes lead the Pac-12 in all three categories and their four interceptions is also most in the league. Utah caused seven turnovers against BYU (6 fumble recoveries, 1 interception). The last time an opponent lost six fumbles against the Utes was back in 1985 (Washington State).
Utah is tied for the Pac-12 lead and tied for third nationally in red zone defense, stopping its foes on three of six trips inside the 20 for a 50% success rate ... The Utes lead the Pac-12 and rank 33rd in the nation in pass efficiency defense (114.8) ... Utah is second in the Pac-12 and 15th nationally in scoring defense (14.3), while ranking third in the Pac-12 and 14th in the country in rushing defense (79.3) ... BYU's 11 net rushing yards is the seventh-lowest rushing total by an opponent in Utah history and the fewest since Michigan rushed for 13 yards against the Utes in 2002. The Cougars were held to negative rushing yards in the first (-6), third (-5) and fourth (-2) quarters.
INSIDE THE HUDDLE
Senior offensive tackle Tony Bergstrom, an all-conference candidate who left the BYU game on Sept. 17 with a first-quarter knee injury, remains questionable for Washington. If he can't go, sophomore Percy Taumoelau will get his first career start ... On Sept. 19, Ute linebacker Trevor Reilly became Utah's first Pac-12 player of the week in any sport. Reilly forced three fumbles, which set a Utah single-game record, and recovered one, while also contributing two sacks (21 yards), three tackles for loss (35 yards) and a pass breakup in Utah's 54-10 win over BYU ... Utah has played four true freshmen this season: Safety Eric Rowe, defensive end Nate Fakahafua, running back Harvey Langi and receiver Charles Henderson.
Lots of fan activities are on tap for Saturday's game vs. Washington, beginning with the Ute Walk at 2:30 p.m. ... The pre-game intros will include fireworks near the Pac-12 logos on the field ... In the first timeout of the game, a special commemorative game ball will be presented to Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott by Utah Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill and interim President Lorris Betz ... Approximately 1,000 replicas of Rice-Eccles Stadium will be given away randomly throughout the game ... Fans in attendance will notice that 10 flags bearing Utah Pac-12 logos have been hung in the South end zone and another hangs under the state flag in the North end zone.
OUTSIDE THE LINES
The Red Movement, a series of entertainment offerings co-sponsored by Utah athletics and downtown Salt Lake City, will kick off this Friday. The Red Movement will take place on Fridays before Utah home football games and will feature activities like UNight and Paint the Town Red. For more information, see the mobile friendly website TheRedMVMT.com ... On Saturday, Guardsman Way will close to vehicle traffic between 400 South and the entrance to the Guardsman Way Tailgate Lot to accommodate the new Tailgate Alley, which will offer 12 RV tailgating spots and 38 tailgate tents. For more information, call (801) 587-9894 ... The University is sponsoring a variety of homecoming activities, which can be found at http://www.alumni.utah.edu/homecoming/.
Utah's all-time record in homecoming games is 56-30-4. The Utes have won four straight homecoming games (Utah State, 2007; Weber State 2008; Louisville, 2009; San Jose State 2010). Utah is 11-9-1 in homecoming games against Pac-12 schools: Arizona (2-0), Arizona State (2-2), Colorado (7-6-1) and Oregon (0-1) ... Utah's all-time record on Oct. 1 is 6-6-1 (4-2 at home) ... In its history, Utah is 255-153-14 in the month of October ... Utah is out-scoring its opponents in every quarter.
Quotes from Kyle Whittingham's Weekly Press Conference
We had a productive bye week. We had quality time on the field. We didn't spend a lot of time on the field, but the time we did spend was good work. We gave players some downtime as well. They had Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. Hopefully it rejuvenated them and got them ready to go this week. We also got some recruiting done as well. All our coaches were out Friday and Saturday. We covered a lot of ground recruiting. It was a good week overall.
We have the Huskies coming in to Rice-Eccles Stadium next. They are a good football team and had a nice win against Cal. Their quarterback, Keith Price, is playing exceptionally well. He is making a lot of plays for them and his efficiency rating is outstanding. Their running back, Chris Polk, is outstanding also. Their receiving corps are doing a nice job as well. Their defense is athletic and they run well. They've given up a few yards, but they've made plays when they had to. This is a big challenge for our football team.
On Keith Price:
He's a playmaker. What sets him apart is his ability to make plays when the protection breaks down. He is exceptional throwing on the move, and finding open receivers when a play breaks down. He is also a very capable runner. He doesn't like to run a lot, but he can when he needs to.
On Chris Polk:
He's got some size. He's similar to Marc Tyler at USC. He is a north-south runner, and shifty. He has the vast majority of carries in their run game, and he's been very productive.
On the first Pac-12 game at home:
It's exciting, and we expect another sellout. The atmosphere should be great. It's supposed to be good weather and it's going to be an electric atmosphere. Our guys need to prepare and take care of business. We need to come into this game with the same focus and prepare with the same mentality to come out against the Huskies.
Tony Bergstrom and Jake Murphy are both questionable. They're day-to-day. Luke Matthews, we expect to play.
On the bye week:
We try to make it a positive regardless of when it comes. We had a few guys get dinged up in the last ball game, so it's good timing for that. The bye came a little earlier than years past, but we took the same approach - not spending a lot of time on the field, give our guys time to heal up, and get some recruiting done. The bye week routine is fairly similar regardless of when it falls. We have a model that we've followed for a lot of years. We tweak it a little based on circumstances, but for the most part it's pretty standard.
On the Washington defense:
They do have good players. They got stops in the Cal game when they had to, but they have given up a few things as far as yardage and points. The bottom line is that they are 3-1 and doing a nice job overall as a football team. I can't say specifically what issues they may have, but on tape they are athletic and play with great intensity. Some things haven't gone their way, but they have great players on defense.