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Utah football: Utes say they must improve their performances on the road

Published November 20, 2013 10:19 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

One would think, with the way the Utah Utes have struggled on the road, they'd be at a huge disadvantage since they must play at Washington State on Saturday.

Luckily for the Utes, the Cougars have struggled as much at home as the Utes have on the road.

The Utes are just 1-3 on the road this year while WSU is just 2-3 at home. The Cougars' two wins were against SUU and Idaho, while the losses were against Stanford, Oregon State and Arizona State.

WSU was outscored by a combined 162-62 in the three league losses. Such blowouts wouldn't be that puzzling for a struggling team, but WSU managed to win at USC, Cal and Arizona.

Why can't the Cougars win at home?

WSU coach Mike Leach said this week his team has done a better job of being focused on the road than at home and needed that same mentality at home.

As for the Utes, their road record, which stands at 3-9 on the road against Pac-12 teams since they joined the league in 2011, continues to be a sticking point.

"We haven't played well on the road at all so we have to get that corrected," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "We're going to go in there and try to get that ship righted, but Washington State did a nice job of going to Arizona and winning and seem to be hitting their stride and playing exceptionally well on both sides of the ball."

Two good days

Utah offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson is happy with the way quarterback Adam Schulz has practiced this week.

"When you know you are 'the guy,' you prepare differently," he said. "He was better today than yesterday and that is how you progress through the week."

Whittingham said the Utes won't go conservative with Schulz leading the offense, noting his stats would have been better a week ago if there weren't as many dropped passes.

"We expect him to make plays," he said.

More Asiata

Whittingham was happy with the performance freshman Isaac Asiata had against Oregon and will continue to get more time. Sophomore Siaosi Aiono, who has been hampered by an injury, is doing better but Asiata has earned the right for more playing time.

"He played solid football and you will see him the rest of the way either as a starter or in a rotation capacity," Whittingham said of Asiata.

Asiata has just 131 plays this year, but is tied for the team lead with four cuts.