Utah football: Travis Wilson can't deliver breakthrough road win
Seattle • Three years ago, Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn's fifth career start came in a bowl game.
Saturday night, freshman Travis Wilson's fifth start came in a loss that will make the Utes struggle to become eligible for a bowl bid.
The Utes' visit to Washington served as another checkpoint in Wilson's development, considering he had lost his first two starts on the road before winning two home games.
Asked during the week to outline the next step for Wilson, Ute coach Kyle Whittingham said, "A signature road win, probably and this is a great opportunity."
Facing an aggressive defense, Wilson could not deliver that breakthrough victory, losing 34-15. The Huskies pounded him in the second half and covered his receivers well all night.
Wilson finished with only 55 passing yards, hitting 8 of 23 attempts. He was 2 for 10 for 23 yards in the second half after going 6 of 13 for 32 yards in the first half with a couple of drops. An interception by John Timu stopped a Ute drive into Husky territory and led to Washington's go-ahead touchdown.
The Huskies turned up the heat on Wilson in the second half, sacking him four times.
Wynn did not lead the Utes to a road victory until midway through his sophomore season, partly because of the way the schedule fell. His only road starts as a freshman came at nationally ranked Texas Christian and BYU, comparable to Wilson's games at UCLA and Oregon State in October.
Facing the Huskies at CenturyLink Field, Wilson was trying to do what only USC's Matt Barkley had done in 2012, by winning in Seattle as a visiting quarterback.
Wilson was making steady progress through four starts, having been promoted ahead of Jon Hays.
His efficient passing complemented the running of John White and good efforts from the defense and special teams in Utah's defeats of California and Washington State.
In those wins, Wilson completed 33 of 45 passes for 327 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions. It was a different story against the Huskies.