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Utah football: Utes undaunted by losing streak to UW

Published November 10, 2012 2:29 pm

Utah has never beaten Washington, but needs 2 wins in last 3 games.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Seattle • The Washington Huskies are the one team in the Pac-12 that the Utah Utes have never beaten.

There may be no better time than now for the Utes to end their seven-game losing streak to the Huskies.

The Utes (4-5, 2-4), who must win two of their last three games to become bowl-eligible, would love to better their odds of playing past Thanksgiving by snagging a win against the Huskies (5-4, 3-3) at CenturyLink Field on Saturday.

Washington has lost only once there this year, falling to No. 11 USC 24-14. But the Utes are confident they can overcome whatever magic or mojo the Huskies have working for them.

As far as they are concerned, they don't really have any other options.

"We know we need two more wins to get to a bowl game, and we don't want to take any back steps," receiver Dres Anderson said. "We're on a good roll right now, and we've got to keep it going."

While Utah has its focus on the future, the game against Washington is about the past too.

Last year's 31-14 loss to the Huskies was one of the toughest for the Utes in this, or any other era. Utah lost three fumbles and turned the ball over twice within Washington's 5-yard line on back-to-back series. Quarterback Jordan Wynn also suffered his season-ending shoulder injury in the game.

All in all, it was a game to forget for the Utes — or actually, to remember.

"We owe them for last year," defensive end Trevor Reilly said. "We had the turnovers and we didn't cause many and the QB went down, so we owe these guys."

The two-game winning streak has the Utes going into the game with more confidence than ever, but nobody is taking anything for granted, Anderson said.

Utah has been burned enough times by doing that in the past, particularly in the 37-7 loss at ASU.

"We're coming in humble enough that we'll definitely be ready to play," he said. "But we're coming in with some swag too, and we have just enough confidence."

Making the Utes feel better is the 49 points their offense has put up in each of the last two games. Quarterback Travis Wilson has improved with each outing, too. Getting his first road win is the next item on his to-do list.

He'll face a defense that is giving up 201.2 yards through the air and 192.2 yards on the ground.

"We have to play like we have the last few weeks," he said. "As long as we stay confident and calm and execute, we should be OK."

Defensively, Utah's biggest concern is Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who has 89 career receptions and 1,168 receiving yards, which is a Washington record for a tight end.

"He's a big dude," Utah safety Brian Blechen said. "What is amazing about him is how athletic he is and the catches he can make — he looks so fluid."

Playing at CenturyLink Field could be a factor for the Utes, too, since the stadium is so loud. However, an angry, obnoxious crowd might just highlight how the Utes feel going into this game.

"We're taking an 'us against the world' mentality into this game; that is where we are right now," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. —

Utah at Washington

P Saturday, 8:30 p.m.

TV • Pac-12 Network. Radio • 700 AM

Records • Utah 4-5, 2-4; Washington 5-4, 3-3

Series history • Washington leads 7-0

Last meeting • Washington 31, Utah 14 (Oct. 1, 2011)

About the Utes • The Utes haven't won on the road this year. … Corner Ryan Lacy, who missed the Washington State game with an undisclosed injury, should play. … Backup running back Kelvin York (ankle) and offensive lineman Jeremiah Tofaeono (foot) aren't expected to play.

About the Huskies • Bishop Sankey has rushed for 100 yards in four games and ranks fifth in the Pac-12 in rushing. … Quarterback Keith Price threw a record 33 touchdown passes in 2011. He has thrown for nine this season.