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Utah quarterback Travis Wilson's struggles continue vs. USC

Published October 26, 2013 8:42 pm

Pac-12 • Sophomore QB struggles for the second week in a row.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Los Angeles • The sprained index finger and the long gashes on Travis Wilson's throwing hand hurt, but the wounds couldn't match the mental anguish Wilson felt after Utah's loss to USC on Saturday.

Wilson, Utah's sophomore quarterback, continued his slide against the Trojans as he finished with two interceptions and a fumble.

He now has 14 interceptions on the season. Granted, many of those interceptions have come off tipped balls, but Wilson didn't try to excuse away his mistakes on Saturday, blaming Utah's 19-3 loss on his decisions.

"I can't turn the ball over that many times and think we are going to win the game," he said. "I have to make sure I make smarter decisions."

Now Utah's coaching staff has to make some decisions of its own. Earlier in the week Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said it would take a disaster for the Utes to use freshman Conner Manning, whom the Utes want to redshirt.

Following Saturday's outcome, Whittingham hinted that the loss might have been close enough to disaster level to rethink Manning's future.

"We have to take a long look at every option," he said. "If there is any dramatic changes, this is the time to do it."

Backup Adam Schulz wasn't anymore effective than Wilson, as he threw an interception at the end of the first half and finished 7 of 17 for 79 yards.

"It came down to a lack of execution," Schulz said of the offense. "We know the burden is on us as an offense. We have to execute every play."

The execution of Wilson is particularly troubling since it seems he is playing worse, not better, in recent games.

Many of Wilson's early interceptions were off tipped balls, but he made bad decisions against Arizona and USC that led to some of the turnovers.

As a California boy, Wilson wanted to put on a good performance in USC's legendary stadium. Instead, it was one he wanted to forget.

"I thought I was reading everything well, but on some throws I just wasn't hitting the target and not making smart decisions," he said Saturday.

"It's frustrating," he added. "Our offense works super hard through the week and to not score is a huge letdown and that is something we have to get corrected."

Now the Utes must decide if a quarterback change is necessary as part of the corrections. —

A closer look

Utah quarterback Travis Wilson's performances in his past two games:

USC • 5 of 14, 51 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs

Arizona • 3 of 9, 15 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs