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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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Utes sticking with freshman QB Wilson

Utah freshman quarterback Travis Wilson got a vote of confidence Monday as coach Kyle Whittingham said the Utes would stick with him as a starter.

Whittingham said following Saturday's loss at UCLA he'd decide who would start after reviewing the tape, now it is Wilson's job to lose from here on out.

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"The guys have confidence in him," Whittingham said. "What we saw in that game, hopefully he'll continue to improve on but he responded well against a good defense that was athletic and fast."

Wilson, who was 23-for-33 for 220 yards, said he knows he has to get more accurate in his passing.

"I was really glad for the opportunity to start but I feel like I need to keep working hard," he said. "I definitely didn't play as good as I wanted to. I definitely should have made more plays and some of the passes weren't on target or as good as they needed to be. I just need to keep working."

As for the offense, Whittingham said he feels the Utes are "closer than a lot of people think we are."

"We need to keep working and find answers but it's not like we aren't competing," he said. "Losing 21-14, there are no moral victories, but we are a lot closer than a lot of people think we are."

Ending Utah's three-game losing streak on the road against No. 8 Oregon State will be a difficult task. Oregon State is ranked fourth nationally with a defense that is giving up just 70 yards on the ground and is ranked 25th giving up just 18.4 points.

The offense features two quality receivers in Brandin Cooks (131.8 yards a game) and Markus Wheaton (112.8).

The Beavers are without quarterback Sean Mannion who hurt his knee two weeks ago, but backup Cody Vaz looked capable enough as he led the Beavers to a 42-24 win over BYU, throwing for 332 yards and three touchdowns.

Whittingham said what impressed him the most about the Beavers was their overall team play.

"Coach (Mike) Riley has done a good job of getting them back on track," he said.

- Lya Wodraska



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