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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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Encouraging signs in Utah loss

Utah lost to UCLA Thursday night, but Utah fans still have to be encouraged by what they saw out of the Utes. Sure, an upset would have been great and given Utah the elusive signature win it seeks, but at least there was improvement over Utah's past performances.

It was a question even after the Utes beat BYU if Utah's defense was indeed improving. After Thursday no one can argue that it isn't.

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Keith McGill, Davion Orphey, Mike Honeycutt and others all made some nice plays. Granted it wasn't enough to totally stop UCLA's offense, but Utah still gave up just 10 points off five turnovers.

Two weeks ago I would have expected the Bruins to score on every one of those opportunities.

Travis Wilson's turnovers were troubling, particularly after he opened the season with such a strong start. It will be interesting to see how much his confidence is shaken when the Utes take on Stanford this week.

The last thing the Utes need is an uncertain quarterback going against a powerhouse such as Stanford.

Can the Utes beat the Cardinal? We'll see. Personally, I think it might be a better matchup for the Utes than the Bruins were, given Stanford's quarterback Kevin Hogan is a run first, pass later quarterback.

The Utes no doubt are on an upward swing, the question is if they can rise up enough to end their conference losing streak come Saturday.

- Lya Wodraska

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