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Utah Utes football: No. 15 Utes have short turnaround before facing OSU

Published: Monday, Sept. 29 2008 12:39 a.m. MDT

Utah wasn't seeing red, or even purple for that matter, after Saturday's 37-21 win over Weber State.

The Utes (5-0), who moved up to 15th in this week's national rankings, had orange on their minds. They'll host Oregon State in a Thursday night game at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Beavers (2-2) are coming off a 27-21 upset of top-ranked USC. True freshman Jacquizz Rodgers led the way by rushing for 186 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries.

"Oregon State will definitely be our biggest challenge to date," said senior defensive tackle Greg Newman. "They have a great running back and a great line."

And then there's last year. Quarterback Brian Johnson and running back Matt Asiata were injured in a 24-7 season-opening setback to the Beavers in Corvallis.

"Oregon State beat us up pretty good last year. They left us limping," Johnson said. "We're excited for the coming game. We are going to have to pick it up in preparation because of the short week."

Whittingham said he has a model in place that will maximize Utah's preparation for the game.

"Our focus has already completely shifted to Oregon State," Whittingham said Saturday night. "That's where all our attention is focused right now."

As for the Weber State game, Whittingham noted that the Utes were "average." They pretty much matched their season averages in first downs and points. He added that everything was OK except for how Weber State's last two touchdown drives were defended by Utah's reserves.

Whittingham called it a "lack of resistency" and something to fix.

Kicker Louie Sakoda, who became Utah's career scoring leader (238 points) after making three field goals and four PATs in the game, was more direct about the late scores the Utes gave up.

"It kind of put a bad taste in our mouth. We've got to have our second 'D' go in there and get the job done," he said. "Overall a win is a win. We came out with no injuries so there's a lot of positives about the win."

Whittingham noted that a reduction in sacks and penalties were bright spots. The Utes entered the game averaging more than nine penalties and three sacks per game. On Saturday, they were penalized only six times and didn't give up a single sack.

"I thought we did some decent things," Whittingham said. "... And you can't lose sight of the fact that we won the football game."

Weber State coach Ron McBride offered his best wishes for continued success.

"I am happy for Kyle and I hope they continue to get better each week," McBride said. "They have a good team coming in on Thursday. So I wish them luck."

Utah on the air

Oregon State (2-2) at

No. 15 Utah (5-0)

Thursday, 7 p.m.

TV: Versus; Radio: 700AM


E-mail: dirk@desnews.com

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