Utah is starting to make a habit of losing after an emotional win. They lost the week after beating BYU and now they lose another game a week after a tough win against #5 Stanford.
Utah’s quarterback Travis Wilson left the game, but that didn’t seem to be the problem, as the replacement quarterback, Adam Schultz, completed 12 of 23 for 142 yards, 1 touchdown and no interceptions. Travis Wilson threw a pick six, and was 3 for 9 for only 15 yards.
The surprise of the night was two missed field goals by Utah’s Andy Phillips, who, until tonight, was 11 for 11. Now he is 12 of 14. The misses were from 40 and 42 yards. Even great kickers are going to miss. Credit Arizona’s defense for forcing long field goals.
Utah’s biggest problem wasn’t the missed field goals. It was their defense’s inability to stop Ka’Deem Carey, who rushed over the Ute defense for 234 yards. Carey’s final touch down was an embarrassing display for the Ute’s defense. The Utes called a defensive play that should have stuffed a third and five run by Carey. But two Ute defenders stayed too far outside on the right, they collided into each other, allowing Carey to run right by them and on to the end zone for a game sealing score.
Utah has now dropped to 1 – 3 in conference play, all but mathematically eliminating them from a chance to play for the conference title.
Will there be a Ute Quarterback controversy for the Utes? You betcha!
Shultz took much better care of the ball than Wilson (who threw six picks against UCLA), and has definitely opened up the Utes to some legitimate Quarterback controversy. Some fans might argue that a quarterback who could take care of the ball might have allowed Utah to beat Oregon State (Wilson threw 3 picks and Utah lost by 3) and UCLA (Wilson threw six picks and Utah lost by 7). And today against Arizona, take away the second quarter pick six and who knows if the Utes wouldn’t have found a way to win.
Kyle Whittingham needs to do something to improve Utah’s defense. It seems like they are inconstant. They hold BYU to 13, but allow over fifty to OSU. Then they play remarkable against both UCLA and Stanford, but give up over two hundreds yards rushing to Carey today. If Whittingham can get a consistent high level of play from his defense, Utah should compete in the next three games.
Next week Utah faces USC, a team that Utah should be able to beat even though the game is in the in the Colliseum. Then they face Arizona State before Oregon, both of whom could potentially light Utah up if the Ute defense that shows up is the inconsistent one.
If Utah drops the next three, they will have to hope for wins against Colorado and Washington State just to get bowl eligible.
Football matters in Utah.