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SALT LAKE CITY - Utah (2-2, 0-2 Pac-12) hosts Arizona State (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) on Saturday, Oct. 8 starting at 1:30 p.m. MT in Rice-Eccles Stadium. 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.
- Utah (2-2, 0-2 Pac-12) vs. Arizona State (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12)
- Date: Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011
- Time: 1:30 p.m. MT
- Site: Rice-Eccles Stadium (45,017, FieldTurf)
- TV: FSN (ROOT Sports)
- Radio: ESPN700 & SIRIUS 128/XM 193
- Series Record: ASU leads 16-6
- Last Meeting: 1993 (ASU 38-0)
- Kickoff Weather: Partly cloudy and cool, temps in the lower 60s
Arizona State holds a 16-6 series lead and has won the last seven games—six which were played in Tempe. Utah's last win was a 31-28 verdict in Tempe in 1976 when both teams were members of the Western Athletic Conference. They last met in 1993, with ASU winning convincingly, 38-0.
With losses to USC and Washington, the Utes are off to their first 0-2 conference start since 2007, when they were members of the Mountain West Conference. After losing to Air Force and UNLV that season, Utah won eight of its last nine games, including a bowl win over Navy.
ASU leads the series 16-6 (4-3 in Salt Lake City). Utah and ASU have not played in Salt Lake City since 1977--a 47-19 Sun Devil victory when both teams were members of the Western Athletic Conference.
ASU has won the last seven games (six in Tempe), most recently in 1993 (38-0 in Tempe). For complete series information, see the boxed inset on page 2.
Utah junior quarterback Jordan Wynn is questionable for Saturday's game with an injury to his left (non-throwing) shoulder. Wynn was injured at the end of the first half against Washington and was replaced by junior college transfer Jon Hays.
With two losses against Pac-12 schools this season, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham is now 4-5 against league members. Utah's last win against a current Pac-12 school was in 2009 over Cal in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Utes did not play any teams from the conference last season.
In the latest national rankings, Utah is No. 4 in red-zone defense (5-9, 56%), is tied for fifth in fumbles recovered (8), tied for 7th in turnovers caused (13) and tied for 13th in turnover margin (1.25; 13 takeaways to 8 turnovers). The Utes lead the Pac-12 in all four categories ... Utah's five interceptions ranks second in the conference ... The Utes are third in the Pac-12 in pass efficiency defense (124.6) ... Utah is second in the Pac-12 and 25th nationally in scoring defense (18.5) ... The Utes are second in the conference and are tied for 17th in the NCAA in fourth-down defense (2-of-8 for a 25% conversion rate).
INSIDE THE HUDDLE
While still listed as questionable, the health status of right tackle Tony Bergstrom (knee) and tight ends Kendrick Moeai (ankle) and Jake Murphy (knee) has improved and they could be available for the ASU game. All three missed last week's game with injury ... Quarterback Jordan Wynn (left shoulder) is questionable for Saturday. If he is sidelined, the quarterback two deep is junior college transfer Jon Hays and true freshman Tyler Shreve ... Three players got their first career starts as Utes against Washington: offensive lineman Latu Heimuli, fullback Karl Williams and safety Quade Chappuis ... Utah has played four true freshmen this season: Safety Eric Rowe, defensive end Nate Fakahafua, running back Harvey Langi and receiver Charles Henderson.
OUTSIDE THE LINES
The Varsity Club will hold its seventh-annual reunion at the ASU game, starting with a reception Friday night. Around 400 former student-athletes are expected to attend the event, which will also feature a tailgate party and pre-game introductions.
Utah has three players from Arizona: FB Luke Matthews (Phoenix), DB Greg Bird (Mesa) and K Kenny Golladay (Mesa) ... Utah has not played a home game on Oct. 8 since 1983 (a 35-11 win over UTEP) ... Utah is out-scoring its opponents in every quarter ... Utah is 2-0 when it scores first and when it leads at halftime, and 0-2 when it does not.
Utah squandered two scoring opportunities in the second quarter by turning the ball over inside the Washington 5-yard line on back-to-back series and the Utes went on to lose 31-14. With the score tied at 7-7, a Jordan Wynn pass was intercepted at the 4-yard line. After Utah's defense forced the Huskies to punt, Wynn hit Dres Anderson deep in Husky territory, but Anderson fumbled the ball away on the UW 3-yard line. Wynn, who also completed 12-of-17 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown to Anderson, did not return in the second half after injuring his left shoulder. Replacement Jon Hays completed 10-of-16 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown, but had two turnovers. DeVonte Christopher had 125 receiving yards and defensive co-leaders were Brian Blechen and Chaz Walker, each with 12 tackles.
Quotes from Kyle Whittingham's Weekly Press Conference
The real storyline of this game was our inability to possess the football. We're not good enough to turn the ball over five times against the Huskies and win. I thought we moved the ball well offensively in the first half, but we failed to turn that into points. Turnovers were really the main reason for our demise. It didn't help that we started the game giving up a touchdown on the opening kickoff. That's not the best way to start the game. Defensively, I thought we played well in the first half. We limited them to a field goal, but they were helped by two ignorant penalties by us. We did not play well in the second half, so overall it wasn't the way we typically play defense. The bottom line is that we are 0-2 in conference play, and it doesn't get any easier this week.
The Sun Devils are an excellent football team. We have our hands full. We need to have a good week of practice and we need to correct our deficiencies. Through our first three ball games we did a good job possessing the football, and this game was very bad, so we have to get back to what we were doing the first three games.
No one was hurt this week other than Jordan. We're hoping to get Tony Bergstrom, Kendrick Moeai, and Jake Murphy back this week. It would help our cause if we could get these guys back.
On Jon Hays:
I thought when he came in he did some good things. He did throw an interception and lose the ball in the pocket, but he made some good throws. He showed a lot of poise on a lot of plays. I saw a lot of positives in the half that he played. He has a strong arm and runs fairly effectively.
We have to change some things in our offense to play to our quarterback's strengths. It will necessitate that we do some different things. We'll play more shotgun and more spread. We're working through that as we speak. Jon is a better runner than Jordan. We'll tweak things, but we have no details at the present time.
Jon is number one, while Tyler Shreve is our number two. We had hoped to redshirt him, but we need to make sure we are covered.
On fighting through adversity:
We remind them to keep their heads up and be competitive every week and fight through that adversity. This is a situation where we find out who we really are and what we're made of, when adversity strikes. The sky is not falling, we are 2-2 and done some good things this season, but we lost a tough Pac-12 game against USC and got beat Saturday. The complexion of the game changes if we can convert in the red zone, but that's ridiculous to say because we didn't. We've got to make those plays when they are there. There is little margin for error in this conference.
We knew it would be competitive, and every week is going to be like this. I don't know if people thought we would walk through it, but that's not reality. Our recruiting classes continue to build our roster, but it's a process. We have high expectations and we want to win every game.
On Harvey Langi:
He's made steady improvement assignment-wise. He's going to continue to be the backup behind John White and will continue to get reps through the course of the season.
On Arizona State:
They are very good. Brock Osweiler is a big kid and throws it around very well. He's very accurate. He makes good decisions - he is a throw-first guy without a doubt. He's not anxious to run, but he hits that swing pass that's an extension to the play. He sees the field very well. He has good pocket presence and awareness. He's a good quarterback just like every other quarterback in this conference. They have good receivers, Aaron Pflugrad and some other big targets. They have guys who are exceptionally fast and athletic. Jamal Miles is fast as well. Their offense is playing efficiently, they spread out and get the ball to playmakers in open spaces. Their corners are very good and their middle linebacker - they are probably the best players they have. Their edge pass rushers are good as well. They don't do a whole lot defensively - you know what they are going to do, but their mentality is that we're good enough that we will do it well.