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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 have plenty to fix before facing Wildcats

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham didn't hold back in his assessment of his team's offensive showing against Washington, calling the throw game 'horrendous.'

"We didn't throw the ball with any accuracy, we had some dropped balls and the protection was spotty," he said. "There wasn't one thing to pinpoint, we just never got in sync at all with the throw game for a variety of reasons."

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Fixing those issues this week is a must if the Utes want to become bowl eligible.

"We move on to Arizona and it's do or die," he said. "Our backs are to the wall in every sense, there is no margin for error. We have to play our best football this week."

Arizona's defense is one of the worst in the nation, giving up 491.9 yards but it's offense is one of the best, averaging 526.0 yards and 37.9 points. Whittingham hinted we could see a lot of running back John White on Saturday as clock management will be key.

"I think their scheme is exceptional," he said of Arizona. "We have to play well on offense and keep the football away from them and move the chains, make first downs and possess the football. That is where we are at."

Utah quarterback Travis Wilson blamed himself for Saturday's effort in which the Utes had just 188 yards in total offense with only 55 passing yards.

"I definitely need to improve this week," he said. "I feel real embarrassed about Saturday and need to make sure I am comfortable and react to the defense well and set them up and be more prepared than I was last Saturday."

Whittingham also called out the defense, saying the Utes had too many alignment and assignment errors, particularly with the way the Huskies set up the run game.

Bishop Sankey rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns.

"Our inability to get lined up and play assignment football was disappointing," he said. "We were all over the place. We haven't been that all over the place since Arizona State."

Such defensive issues don't bode well for the Utes, who face Arizona back Ka'Deem Carey Saturday. Carey rushed for a Pac-12 record 366 yards in the Wildcats' 56-31 win over Colorado. He averaged 14.6 yards on his 25 carries and scored five touchdowns.

He had 400 all-purpose yards in what was his seventh 100-yard game.

He was named a Pac-12 Player of the Week on Monday.

"Every time he touches the ball, it's like a nightmare," Whittingham said.

Whittingham declined to give an injury report.

One thing to note is the departure of Jordan Wynn. The former quarterback from Oceanside, Calif., withdrew from school and left Friday.

He had been helping Wilson prepare for games.

"We still talk and he texts me stuff and I know he'll always be there if I have to ask him anything," Wilson said. "He was helping me a lot and I just need to get ready and prepare a lot this week on my own."

- 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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