Utah Football: Utes Opens Pac-12 Game Against Washington State Cougars

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For all the things that haven’t gone well this season for Utah, there’s at least a silver lining.

The Utes have a chance to make a fresh start.

After back-to-back losses, Utah opens the Pac-12 game on Saturday (12:30 p.m. MDT, Pac-12 Network) in their comeback game against Washington State. The Utes also have a new starting quarterback, Cam Rising.

Many have sacked Utah because of his 1-2 start, but for the Utes, it’s like a new season; an opportunity to overcome adversity. They adopt their clean slate.

“It’s something that we try to focus on. It’s so much easier said than done. Blocking out all the noise and all the expectations from the outside is really hard to do, ”said wide receiver Britain Covey. “Right now it’s easier for us to do it because a lot of people have written us off. Still, we’re getting into something 0-0 in the Pac-12 game. It’s exciting. It’s us against the world.

“This is the opening of the Pac-12. We are 0-0 in the Pac-12 game. That’s the mentality right now, ”said coach Kyle Whittingham. “We have a new start. The non-conference games did not go as we planned or anticipated. Now we move on to the conference game.

For the Utes, this is their first 1-2 start since 2007. Since a dramatic 33-31 drop last Saturday against San Diego State in triple overtime, there has been even more drama.

There was a meeting reserved for players on Sunday. Starting quarterback Charlie Brewer decided to quit the program on Tuesday.

Rising rallied the Utes late in the game and threw three touchdown passes. What is he expecting this week for his first start of the season?

“You just have to play with bluster,” he said. “It’s a team that has athletes from top to bottom – a back race hall, a landing hall, a tight end hall, an O row hall – we have everything we need on this team.” right now and we’re just making sure we’re playing with the bluster from the get-go.

Whittingham is optimistic about the offensive response, with Rising taking the shots early in the game.

“It was encouraging to see us catch fire on offense and gain confidence and see these guys move the ball and compete like they did,” he said. “It was a very positive thing to happen. It’s the way he came into the game like a spark and moved the team. He threw three touchdowns and showed some mobility.

“It’s another of his strengths. We felt as a staff that he came and did exactly what we hoped he would do. It took a few sets to settle in but once he picked up the pace he did well.

The Utes have made no secret of their intention to win a Pac-12 championship. The South Division seems to be up for grabs.

“Our goal hasn’t changed at all. Our goal is still in sight. We’re quite capable of achieving that goal, ”said linebacker Devin Lloyd. “We didn’t play our best ball; we haven’t played anywhere near our potential in the last two games.

“We plan to change that. That’s why we were so urgent about getting the players together, getting everyone on board, and getting back to basics. We know we can still reach our goal.

During a difficult two-week period in the program, Whittingham enjoys the way his team has performed.

“I don’t think there are any signs of a bad attitude. Everyone is optimistic. Everyone is more angry and frustrated than they are dejected. One thing I noticed in the first two games was that things didn’t go well at the start and so we got that deer look in the headlights. We cannot do that, ”he said. “You have to fight for the 60 years.

“If things don’t turn out early, so what?” Keep on fighting. Keep playing and fight in the face of adversity. Nothing is easy at this level. It’s hard to win a game. You need to stay focused and confident for the full 60 minutes.

Covey believes his team’s late rally may continue until Saturday – and beyond.

“I hope it’s a metaphor for our season,” he said. “What I’m hoping to see is that the last game is a lot like how our season is going. You start badly and then you end up strong.

For months, Whittingham spoke to his team about his potential. The Utes may have given a glimpse of that potential in the fourth quarter against San Diego State.

“We haven’t quite seen it on the pitch. It is only when you see it that you can truly believe it. We’ve all seen it in the fourth quarter, ”Covey said. “Now there are a lot more beliefs behind it. At this point, with two losses, I don’t want to say anything that will allow us to win all of these games. I just know our team are in a much better headspace right now. “

The Utes have a chance for a fresh start – starting on Saturday against Washington State.

“The message is that everything is focused on Washington State. We open the Pac-12 game. We’re 0-0 in the conference, ”said tight ends coach Freddie Whittingham. “Our goal is to win the Pac-12 Sud. That’s what it’s all about, doing it this weekend against Washington State. “


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