Utah Utes football: Ute offense struggles for yards vs. Oregon
Tom Smart, Deseret News
EUGENE, Ore. — After piling up more than 1,000 yards in two victories, the Ute offense sputtered and stalled throughout much of Saturday's loss to Oregon.
The Utes finished with just 297 total yards and went nearly a quarter and a half without a single first down in the first half.
In fact, after scoring to tie the score at 7-7, the Utes went seven straight possessions without a single first down, during which time the Ducks grabbed a 21-7 lead.
"We didn't have much production going on," said Whittingham of the Utes' drought from the 6:34 mark of the first quarter to the 1:01 mark of the second quarter.
"We just didn't get it going fast enough," said Terrance Cain, who finished with 20 completions in 41 attempts after starting 5 for 18. "We can't start slow, we have to start fast. We've got to get better."
The Utes did improve in the second half when they put together their only sustained drive of the game, going 71 yards in 10 plays.
Whittingham gave credit to the Ducks defense, which looked much faster than the two WAC opponents the Utes faced the first two weeks.
"They were faster, but we go against a fast defense every day," Cain said. "You can't let that be an excuse."
While Cain finished with 178 yards passing and 68 yards rushing, the rest of the Ute rushing game suffered. Eddie Wide started and had minus 3 yards on two attempts, while Matt Asiata rushed for 54 yards on 15 attempts.
Captain Zane Beadles, who plays left tackle, said the Utes' mistakes are hurting them.
"You can't have a first half like that and expect to win, bottom line," Beadles said. "It's the little things here and there. We're beating ourselves, missing assignments. We have to get that corrected."
Whittingham said there's plenty of blame to go around and believes the Utes will get better.
"We just have to keep drilling it, keep working it," he said. "It's not just on the players, it's not any one thing. Terrance has got to keep getting better, the play-calling's got to keep getting better. We've just got a lot of stuff to continue to improve upon."
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