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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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QB spot remains uncertain for Utes

Can't say the outcome was surprising, with the Utes falling to UCLA 21-14 Saturday.

However, the most surprising moment came after the game when coach Kyle Whittingham hedged on whether the Utes would stick with quarterback Travis Wilson as the starter.

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Whittingham, who said he went with Wilson as the starter based on the way he and senior Jon Hays practiced last week, said he would wait to watch tape to decide who starts against Oregon State.

It seems Utah's offense has enough issues, now it might have added drama at quarterback.

Overall Saturday's showing by Wilson was Ok. He couldn't win the game for the Utes, but he didn't blow it for them either.

Whittingham said Wilson handled the starting role well without any 'deer in the headlights,' moments.

Unfortunately a lack of production with the offense continues to be Utah's biggest concern. Of particular note Saturday was the run game, or lack of it.

The Utes had just 75 yards rushing and senior John White had just 11 carries for 44 yards. White had just one touch in the second half and was clearly unhappy after the game.

Whittingham admitted that White probably should have gotten more touches.

"Last year he was getting 30 touches a game and maybe we need to get back to giving him a much heavier workload," Whittingham said.

Despite the loss Whittingham maintained he still likes what the Utes are doing schematically although the production was far from where it needs to be, but didn't blame the poor results on a lack of effort.

"They played hard again," he said of the Utes. "There was no shortage of effort or toughness or want too. It was a bunch of tough guys fighting the full 60 minutes."

Defensively the Utes broke down on the passing lanes, again, Whittingham said. Those breakdowns allowed UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley to throw for 183 yards on 15-of-21 passing.

"He is elusive, but we made him appear more elusive than he is," Whittingham said. "We were not disciplined enough in the passing lanes...We have to get more disciplined."

Now the Utes have to get ready for Oregon State, a team that appears to not have lost any of its firepower even with a new starting quarterback based on its 42-24 win over BYU.

"We have no time to lick our wounds," Whittingham said. "We have to regroup and search for answers to our problems."

Here are the grades for the Utes.

Overall - C-. A win here in Pasadena would have been tough to come by, but Utah's continuing problems with defensive breakdowns in the secondary and a lack of a run game are recurring themes that have to be fixed.

Offense - D- Give the Utes credit for going with Travis Wilson in an effort to shake things up, but the result was the same. Most disappointing was the lack of a run game for the Utes.

Whittingham hinted that they should have given John White more touches so perhaps there will be a change of emphasis against Oregon State.

Defense - C - The line was Ok, but the secondary continues to be a weakness for the Utes. Unfortunately, Utah doesn't have many options in the form of changing personnel. Brian Blechen led the Utes with eight tackles.

Special Teams - B - This was the bright spot for the Utes with the fumble recovery for a score.

- Lya Wodraska


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