Pullman, Wash. • In a loss to Washington State, Adam Schulz provided material for both sides of the argument about whether he's qualified to become Utah's quarterback next season.
Schulz passed for 347 yards and three touchdowns, but two of his passes were returned for touchdowns in WSU's 49-37 victory Saturday at Martin Stadium.
His 21-of-46 completion rate was below 50 percent for the second game in a row since he replaced Travis Wilson, and Schulz blamed himself for the Utes' falling behind 21-0. But he recovered impressively, leading drives that pulled Utah within a touchdown at three different stages of the game. In the process, Schulz topped Wilson's career-best yardage total.
"I thought he grew today as a quarterback," said Ute coach Kyle Whittingham. "After those two pick-sixes, that could have been something where he went into a little bit of a shock, but he didn't.
"He hung in there and kept his head up and finished with some pretty good numbers."
Schulz has been aided by the return of tight end Jake Murphy, who missed four games with a wrist injury. Murphy's five receptions included two touchdowns, after Schulz connected with him for a score at Oregon. Dres Anderson also caught a TD pass, while teaming with Murphy to give Utah two 100-yard receivers for the first time since 2004.
Wilson, whose career is in question because of head trauma, traveled with the team and encouraged Schulz on the sideline. After the rough beginning, the offense settled in and "started clicking," Schulz said. "We were able to pass the ball. The offensive line did a great job protecting. Receivers made plays."
Schulz's response to the early struggles took away any thoughts of Utah's using Conner Manning, voiding his redshirt status. Wilson's availability may not be known for a few months.
After the season finale vs. Colorado, the coaching staff will have to determine if some combination of Schulz, Manning and other young quarterbacks will be adequate next season.
Otherwise, the Utes may recruit a junior college quarterback.
A closer look
Statistics for Utah quarterback Adam Schulz in his two starts:
Opponent Comp Att Int Yrd TD
Oregon 13 30 1 181 1
Washington St. 21 46 2 347 3