Utah Utes football: Wounded Utes limp home after Cowtown beatdown
August Miller, Deseret News
FORT WORTH, Texas — So much for the "Cowtown Showdown." Utah's 55-28 loss at TCU was more like a beatdown.
The fourth-ranked Horned Frogs hopped all over the Utes to seize sole possession of first place in the Mountain West Conference.
"We made a lot of mistakes and they capitalized on them," said Utah running back Eddie Wide. "Now we just have to go in on Monday and work harder."
When the Utes resume practice today, they'll do so on the heels of their most lopsided loss since 2007 — having given more than 50 points for the first time in over 13 years.
"We've got some progress to make," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said while emphasizing that the Utes have good players in the program. "We've all got to get better, coaching-wise and player-wise."
Although understandably disappointed about the lopsided outcome at TCU, Whittingham insists the Utes are still working on a good season. The Maaco Bowl Las Vegas or Poinsettia Bowls are likely destinations after closing out the regular season with a home game against San Diego State and a road contest at BYU.
"The whole key now is how we respond," he said.
Quarterback Jordan Wynn, who completed 16-of-32 passes for 219 yards in his second collegiate start, acknowledged the Utes have a lot of stuff to work on.
"It's back to work," he said outside the Utah locker room at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
The true freshman threw a touchdown pass and was intercepted once against one of the nation's top defenses.
"I thought he hung in there. He got whacked pretty good a few times and kept coming back," Whittingham said. "He's a tough kid and is to be commended for that."
Utah finished with 284 yards of total offense, including just 65 on the ground. Wide, who entered the contest with a school-record six consecutive 100-yard games, finished with just 25 on 14 carries.
TCU forced a couple of turnovers and limited Utah to just 4-of-15 success on third-down situations.
"They're the best," Wide said of the Horned Frogs' defense. "They are where they are for a reason."
TCU's offense and special teams also contributed mightily. The Horned Frogs racked up 549 yards of total offense and 32 first downs against the Utes.
Quarterback Andy Dalton completed 17 passes and Ed Wesley finished with a game-high 137 yards rushing. Return specialist Jeremy Kerley had a 39-yard punt return and his teammates on special teams managed to block a Utah punt.
"If this wasn't enough style points I don't know what is," said TCU coach Gary Patterson.
The loss cost the Utes in the rankings. They're now No. 23 in the both the Associated Press and USA Today coaches polls.
"We have to coach better, play better and compete better," Whittingham said. "Those are things that we will address this week."
EXTRA POINTS: Senior David Reed led the Utes with 111 yards receiving, including a 50-yard scoring strike with Wynn . . . Shaky Smithson rushed for two touchdowns on direct snaps and had a 42-yard kickoff return . . . Safety Robert Johnson had a game-high 10 tackles. Defensive lineman Sealver Siliga made nine stops, while linebacker Mike Wright and tackle Dave Kruger had eight each . . . Wright had a fumble recovery and defensive back Lamar Chapman intercepted a pass . . . TCU All-American defensive end Jerry Hughes finished with eight tackles and 1.5 sacks.
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San Diego St. (4-6, 2-4) at No. 23 Utah (8-2, 5-1)
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