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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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ASU loss exposes numerous Utah weaknesses

Quarterback Jon Hays described it as 'gut check' time, defensive lineman Dave Kruger said the Utes had to get the monster off their backs and coach Kyle Whittingham said the Utes were out-coached and out-played in every phase of the game Saturday.

Suffice it to say there were no positives the Utes could find in their 37-7 loss to ASU.

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Whittingham said there was 'no comparison,' in how much the Sun Devils have improved under new coach Todd Graham from last year when ASU beat the Utes 35-14.

At least the Utes were in that game before a series of turnovers turned it into a blowout. The Utes were never in Saturday's contest.

"I know we can play better than that," Whittingham said. "We are not as out-matched or as deficient as we were tonight. We should be more competitive than we were tonight."

There is no sense in grading the various phases of the game, call it a failure on all accounts except maybe for special teams.

Hays was 10-for-15 for 117 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw an interception and was sacked three times.

The run game is of particular concern, with the Utes managing just 92 yards on 38 carries.

Running back John White had 14 carries for 18 yards and fumbled the ball away once in the first half.

"I'm supposed to be a team leader and I didn't do that," he said.

The biggest surprise though was the defense, which gave up 512 yards of offense.

The Utes said they didn't have a reason for the breakdowns.

"In the second half we held them down good," Kruger said. "But we didn't make the corrections fast enough."

Now the Utes have to get over the loss and get ready for USC. Having a bye will help, Whittingham said.

"They are coming at us in 12 days," he said. "The schedule doesn't get any easier."

The Utes played without defensive lineman Joe Kruger (foot) and safety Eric Rowe (hamstring). While Whittingham no longer gives injury reports, defensive back Wykie Freeman, offensive lineman Vyncent Jones and offensive lineman Latu Heimuli all suffered injuries, Whittingham said.

The injuries were no excuse for the Utes' performance and some changes in personnel could be made before the USC game.

"Nobody cares," Whittingham said of the injuries. "When they smell blood in the water they are going to come after you. We need to look at all areas and make sure we have the best on the field. As coaches we have some decisions to make in the next 24, 48 hours."

- Lya Wodraska

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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