Utah football: Utes take show on the road
San Jose, Calif. » Utah offensive lineman Zane Beadles remembers his days at Hillcrest High when his team was strong at home but struggled to play with the same composure and high level on the road.
"We didn't play very well at all," he said of the road trips. "I have no idea why, it was just one of those weird things."
It's a weird thing that doesn't affect Beadles anymore now that he is a member of the Utah team.
The Utes boast the school's second-longest road/neutral win streak, having won their last eight away games.
The school record is 11, set from Nov. 1, 2003-Sept. 10, 2005.
Most of the current streak was established when the Utes had a veteran quarterback in Brian Johnson and veterans at many skill positions.
Today, the Utes try to keep the streak alive with a team in which many key players are experiencing their first road game at the Division I level, starting with quarterback Terrance Cain.
It'll be no problem, promises the junior college transfer, who said the largest crowd he has experienced was Utah's opener.
"I don't pay any attention to the crowd much," he said. "I'll take it like it was any other game."
The Utes have made some concessions to start the 2009 season, going with a conservative game plan overall.
However, no similar adjustments are necessary to help the inexperienced players on the road, coach Kyle Whittingham said.
"They just have to go and block everything out and play well," he said.
With a capacity of just 30,456, Spartan Stadium certainly won't be the biggest stadium the Utes have played in recently, nor do they expect it to be the loudest.
Even so, playing on the road regardless of size still has its challenges, and its bonuses.
"I personally like going into other people's houses and hearing the boos," linebacker Stevenson Sylvester said. "When you make a play, then it's quiet, or like when we went to Louisville and the fans were getting on their team. We'd make a play and they'd get on them bad. I live for that, going to other people's houses and shutting them up."
The Utes believe they have been as successful as they have been on the road because of their focus and routine.
"We do all our same routines every week," Whittingham said. "We have our meetings, take care of practice, get on a plane and have a dinner and movie and relax. It's all the same. I can't attribute the success to anything but our guys in general."
Their focus is evidently so good that some, such as Beadles, have lost track as to the number of road wins.
"I didn't even know that we were 8-0," he said. "We don't look at it as home and away. Every week is the same week no matter were we are. We go and play our game."
Kickoff » 8:30 p.m.
TV » ESPNU
Radio » KALL 700 AM Sports Radio
Series history » Utah leads 4-1, including a 3-0 record in San Jose
Last meeting » Utah won, 49-17 at San Jose State, Oct. 31, 1998
About the Utes » The Utes are one win away from tying the second-longest winning streak in school history, set Nov. 29, 1928-Nov. 30, 1930 when the Utes won 16 in a row...David Reed's 253 all-purpose yards against Utah State was the second-best total in the nation last week...Defender Koa Misi is expected to start after missing the season opener with a back injury.
About the Spartans » They're coming off a 56-3 loss to USC in which they were outgained 620 yards to 121...Two quarterbacks played against USC and are expected to play against the Utes. Kyle Reed was 9-of-17 for 66 yards and Jordan La Secla was 5-of-10 for 43 yards...Coach Dick Tomey coached Utah defender Kepa Gaison's father, Blaine, at Hawaii from 1976-1980.
Dec. 20, 2007 vs. Navy, 35-32, Poinsettia Bowl
Aug. 30, 2008 at Michigan, 25-23
Sept. 13, 2008 at Utah State, 58-10
Sept. 20, 2008 at Air Force, 30-23
Oct. 11, 2008 at Wyoming, 40-7
Nov. 1, 2008 at New Mexico, 13-10
Nov. 15, 2008 at San Diego State, 63-14
Jan. 2, 2009 vs. Alabama, 31-17, Sugar Bowl
Longest road/neutral winning streak in school history
Sept. 27, 2003 at CSU, 28-21
Oct. 18, 2003 at UNLV, 28-10
Nov. 1, 2003 at Air Force, 45-43
Nov. 22, 2003 at BYU, 3-0
Dec. 31, 2003 vs. Southern Miss, 17-0, Liberty Bowl
Sept. 11, 2004 at Arizona, 23-6
Sept. 18, 2004 at Utah State, 48-6
Oct. 1, 2004 at New Mexico, 28-7
Oct. 30, 2004 at San Diego State, 51-28
Nov. 13, 2004 at Wyoming, 45-28
Jan. 1, 2005 vs. Pitt, 35-7, Fiesta Bowl