Utes head into bye week with tough schedule ahead


(KUTV) Utah has made it through the first third of the season without losing a game, for the third straight year. Now they have a bye week and there are a few issues Kyle Whittingham will want to deal with before his team hosts Stanford.

The Utes are a perfect 4-0 and the goal is to win so Ute fans should be happy, but there are several issues. Number one, the Utes have been killing their drives with penalties and extending their opponents drives with penalties. The Utes have been penalized 37 times and that ranks 120th in the nation. The Utes are also settling for field goals. Yes, Matt Gay makes them, he is now 14-14. But, the Utes 32% conversion rate on third down is last in the conference and 108th in the nation. Also, will the offense improve while starting QB Tyler Huntley is injured. He was the team’s leading rusher thru 3 games.

The good news for the Utes is USC has similar issues. They played Cal without their star injured running back, Ronald Jones. USC also settled for field goals and they need a pair of 4th quarter turnovers to beat Cal.

Like the Trojans, the Utes force turnovers at key times. The Utes are tied with South Florida for the national lead in most turnovers forced with 14 and Utah needed five second half turnovers including a pick six to beat Arizona.

The Utes will have to improve as the schedule becomes more difficult. The Utes haven’t beaten a team with a winning record yet. Arizona has the best record at 2-2 and the first four opponents win just 29% of the time with a combined record of 5-12. But none of the next eight opponents have a losing record. They have won 75% of their games with a 24-8 record. The Utes still have to play three teams that hold perfect 4-0 records, USC, Washington and Washington State.