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> Utah (2-1, 0-0 MWC) hosts Louisville (1-1, 0-0 Big East) on Saturday, Sept. 26. Game time is 5:30 p.m. MT in Rice-Eccles Stadium. The game will be televised live on CBS-C HD. Radio is KALL 700 AM (kall700sports.com).
> Saturday's game is Homecoming for the Utes, who have been on the road since their season opener on Sept. 3. Utah is 54-30-4 in Homecoming games.\> Last week's 31-24 loss at Oregon ended the nation's longest active win streak at 16 games. It was the second-longest win streak in Utah history. Utah had also won nine straight road/neutral games prior to the setback last Saturday.
> The loss to Oregon knocked Utah out of the national rankings for the first time since August of 2008. Utah broke into the rankings on Sept. 2, 2008 and went on to finish the season ranked No. 2 behind Florida. The Utes entered this season ranked in the top 20--moving as high as No. 17 in the A.P. rankings and No. 16 in the coaches' poll--before falling out this week.
> Utah is 3-0 all-time against Louisville. The only previous contest held in Salt Lake City was the first game ever played in Rice-Eccles Stadium (Sept. 12, 2008, a 45-22 Ute win).
> Utah is 6-0 all-time against current members of the Big East. The Utes are 3-0 vs. Louisville and 1-0 vs. Pittsburgh, South Florida and West Virginia.
> Kyle Whittingham and other college coaches across the country will wear a "Coach to Cure MD" arm patch at this Saturday's game. "Coach to Cure MD" is sponsored by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and is designed to build awareness of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder that primarily affects pre-teen boys--robbing them of their ability to walk and lowering their life expectancy to their 20s.
> Whittingham is looking for career win No. 40. He is 39-15 in his fifth year as Utah's head coach.
Quotes from Kyle Whittingham's Weekly Press Conference
Obviously, we lost the Oregon game. We didn't play particularly well in any phase of the game. The encouraging thing is that our guys hung in there and found a way to have a chance to win it at the end. When we got down 28-10, things were looking bleak and our guys rallied, continued to fight and hang in the ball game. We had a legitimate chance to win, but we couldn't get it done. Offensively, we were a little out of sync. The biggest negative is that we had 10 three-and-outs. It's tough to play great defense when you go three snaps and out. We only made 15 first downs. You won't win many games with those types of stats. The defense played the run game so-so. When you rush 51 times you are going to get some yards, but they got too many. We are concerned with their yards per carry, and we were above where we like to be. Our throw defense was good. They didn't throw much, so we weren't really tested there. The inability to control the run was our biggest deficiency. We played third downs very well. That is an important part of defensive football and getting out of drives happens on third downs. The special teams play was good and bad. We gave up a punt return early for a touchdown, which was a huge negative. They also partially blocked a punt later in the game. On the good side, we blocked a punt which we converted for a score and got a turnover when they fumbled a punt return.
We have to move forward and play better. The key is going to be how we react to this. We haven't been in this situation for awhile but we have a Louisville team that is coming in and is very similar to Oregon in that they have talent, speed and athleticism. They had Kentucky beat and fumbled a punt return - that was the difference in the game. We have to move forward. We are going to come to practice today and have a great attitude and we'll see how things go.
We expect Matt Asiata to be at 85-90% this week and to be at 100% after the bye week. Caleb Schlauderaff came away from the Oregon game fine. Sausan Shakerin is likely out for the next game with a shoulder injury.
To take the ball away four times and not win is unusual. The first two ballgames we were in the minus category and being on the plus side was one of the things that kept us in the game. If it had been 4-2 the other way, I don't think we would have been in it. We had three turnovers on defense and another on special teams. Robert Johnson had a big play with his touchdown.
On the running game:
If you look at the first three games as a whole, we aren't too bad - we had good production. We didn't run the football well against Oregon and need to be more efficient. Matt (Asiata) was a little banged up, but everyone is banged up. He had limited carries and we have to have other guys step up and pick up the slack and we didn't get that done. Shak (Sausan Shakerin) has a shoulder injury and he probably won't play this week. Eddie Wide didn't get a lot of carries as the complexion of the game unfolded - we either handed off to Matt or threw the ball. In hindsight, Eddie maybe should have had a few more opportunities.
We did not do a good job getting movement at the line of scrimmage. We need to break more tackles at the line of scrimmage and we need to be more physical when we've got the ball in our hands.
On Terrance Cain:
He is a tough kid. He's resilient and things don't particularly bother him for long periods of time. When we made mistakes during two-a-days he could put them behind him. His numbers were average due to a lot of factors. Everyone has to get better. I think he'll rebound and respond. We think he's the guy who will give us the best chance to win. We need to get his whole game elevated and work on the whole process of being a quarterback. We are pleased with the things he's done and we want him to continue to improve in all areas.
If we can't run the football, everything is more difficult. We weren't efficient running the football on Saturday. The throwing game thrives when we run the ball effectively.
On giving up big plays to Oregon:
They had a couple. A 58-yard pass where we blew the coverage - we didn't have the call communicated and our corner was on the opposite side. They hit the open man for a big gain. That and the punt return. We've got to continue to try to limit those. Limiting big plays is a trademark of all great defenses and we didn't do a good job of that.
On the challenges coming off a loss:
I think the guys need to understand that when we have a setback, we have to come back with resolve and determination. I don't want to say we took winning for granted, but a lot of guys in the program haven't experienced a loss yet. I hope it opens some eyes on how hard it is to win a Division I football game and come back with more resolve, focus and determination. We weren't unfocused, but it's obvious we came up short and we have to come back with a better effort. We are not going to make any difference in preparation. We believe in our process and it's worked well over the years. This is not a time to panic. We have nine games left and one more non-conference game before a week off. We would have loved for the win streak to go to 100, but the reality is that things end and we have to be able to regroup.