Utah notebook: Jon Hays bounces back from Cal disaster

Published: Saturday, Oct. 29 2011 10:55 p.m. MDT

Utah fans Lyman Smith celebrates as the University of Utah plays Oregon State University in PAC12 football Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Tom Smart, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — What a difference a week makes. Just ask Utah quarterback Jon Hays.

The former backup, who replaced the injured Jordan Wynn at halftime of the Washington game on Oct. 1, improved to 2-2 as the starter after directing the Utes to a 27-8 win over Oregon State Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

The triumph followed a disappointing performance seven days earlier in front of family and friends near his hometown in California. The junior was intercepted three times and lost a fumble in a 34-10 loss to the Cal Bears.

"I'm feeling great right now, the opposite of last week. That's for sure," Hays said after throwing two touchdowns passes with zero turnovers against Oregon State. "I'm proud of how the offense responded. We were trying to be smart and just hung in there and made plays."

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham approved.

"He managed the game. That's the best way to describe it," Whittingham said. "He did a nice job managing the offense."

BACK IN BLACK: Utah is now 3-1 in blackout games. The Utes topped TCU in 2008 and Wyoming in 2009 before losing to the Horned Frogs in 2010.

"It's a great time, especially winning," said defensive lineman Dave Kruger. "You're wearing your black and you don't want to disappoint anybody. It's just a great feeling."

COSTLY INJURIES: The Utes, who have already lost five players to season-ending injuries, likely added two more on Saturday. Whittingham reported that offensive lineman Latu Heimuli and linebacker J.J. Williams suffered foot injuries and could be on the shelf for the year. Heimuli was hurt during pregame warmups and Williams was injured in the first quarter.

If they're out, the pair will join quarterback Jordan Wynn (shoulder), safety Keith McGill (shoulder), punt returner Charles Henderson (knee), tight end Dallin Rogers (knee) and linebacker Boo Andersen (knee) on the sidelines.

TV IN UTAH: Next Saturday's game between Utah and Arizona in Tucson will be televised in Utah, after all. KJZZ will run a feed provided by Fox Sports Arizona Plus and Fox College Sports Central after Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott appealed an initial decision by the network to deny a waiver to broadcast the game in Utah. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. (MDT)

KICKING IT: Ute placekicker Coleman Petersen booted two more field goals giving him nine straight and 11 of 13 for the season. Petersen was happy to get a chance for his 48-yarder in the first quarter.

"I wasn't sure if they were going to let me kick it," said Petersen, whose previous best was a 45-yarder against Pitt. "But I've kicked one from 53 yards in practice."

Petersen added a 20-yarder in the fourth quarter.

EXTRA POINTS: A construction worker on campus accidently severed a communication line on campus and knocked out Internet access. It happened as the game ended and left folks in the press box scrambling. ... A holding penalty on Utah in the end zone resulted in the first safety for a Utah opponent since Utah State scored on one in 2003. ... The attendance was 45,017 — officially a 10th consecutive sellout, but Utah's smallest home crowd of the season. ... Scouts from the Atlanta Falcons, San Diego Chargers and Tennessee Titans were at the game.

Contributing: Mike Sorensen

Email: dirk@desnews.com, Twitter: @DirkFacer

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