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SEATTLE — The Utes went back out on the road for Saturday night's match-up with Washington, leaving their A-game at Rice-Eccles Stadium. After such crisp, disciplined and efficient performances at home against Cal and Washington State, Utah was equally as sloppy, undisciplined and inefficient in Seattle.
The Huskies' 20 points off turnovers (including an early third-quarter turnover on downs) brought back memories of the 14 points Utah practically gift wrapped at Oregon State on Oct. 20, when the Utes fell 21-7.
It had appeared as if the two weeks in between road games had marked colossal improvements for the entire team, most notably for true freshman quarterback Travis Wilson.
But Wilson had his worst game in a Ute uniform at Washington, completing just 8-of-23 for 55 yards and one interception.
In fact, just about everybody had a lousy game Saturday night, from the receivers to the secondary to the special teams.
Everyone except John White. White was the Utah offense, rushing for 142 yards, including 46- and 20-yard dashes for touchdowns.
The 11-game win streak when White runs for more than 100 yards came to an end, however, as virtually none of his teammates stepped up to help him out.
Receivers dropping passes, just about everybody on defense missing tackles (rendering it unable to get off the field on third down), untimely penalties and crucial turnovers pretty much sum up the night for Utah.
With the loss, the Utes fall to 0-5 on the road this season. In contrast, they possess a 4-1 home record, with the only loss coming against No. 19 USC — a game in which the Utes competed for three quarters.
Interestingly enough, Utah's road woes are actually reasonably fitting for the Pac-12 conference. Aside from undefeated Oregon, as well as Colorado and Washington State (who are always bad), most of the other teams in the conference fare significantly better on their home field than they do on the road.
Washington, for example, is 1-3 on the road and 5-1 at home. The Huskies lost 52-17 at Arizona, but managed to defeat both Stanford and Oregon State on their home field.
Arizona State and Oregon State have each lost their last two road games, and Stanford suffered its two losses away from Palo Alto.
Perhaps the best example, though, is the Utes' next opponent. Arizona is yet to win a road game, going 0-3 so far — including beatdowns at the hands of Oregon and UCLA. The Wildcats have been great at home, on the other hand, holding a 6-1 mark — with a win over USC as well as blowout victories over Washington and Oklahoma State.
Fitting or not, it doesn't change the fact that Utah finds itself near the bottom of the conference and grasping at its last gasps for a chance at bowl eligibility.
Thus, next week's contest presents a must-win situation at home against Arizona. The Utes will have to go back and search Rice-Eccles Stadium from top to bottom to find where they left their A-game, and have it with them next Saturday night if they want to keep any hope of that bowl eligibility alive.
Tyson Maddy has covered University of Utah athletics as a contributing writer for KSL.com sports since 2011.