Utah football notes: Utes expected better things this season
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah tackles leader Trevor Reilly isn't sugarcoating the current state of affairs. Entering Saturday's game against eighth-ranked Oregon State, the Utes are 2-4 overall. The record includes an 0-3 mark in Pac-12 play, linked together in succession.
"We expected better things," said Reilly, who described the situation as "no good" and "no fun."
Expectations were high. Utah was picked to finish second behind league favorite USC in the Pac-12 South preseason media poll.
Now, the Utes have a battle on their hands just to become bowl-eligible. They'll need four wins in a remaining schedule that includes home games against California (Oct. 27), Washington State (Nov. 3) and Arizona (Nov. 17), as well as road dates at Oregon State, Washington (Nov. 10) and Colorado (Nov. 23).
Although the circumstances are challenging, Reilly noted that there's nothing the Utes can do to alter the situation.
It is what it is.
"We've just got to go forward," Reilly said. "We need a big win this week. It would be a huge statement win for us."
Utah's defense, he added, needs to make the move from playing "good" at UCLA to "great" at Oregon State. The Utes put on quite a defensive performance in last year's 27-8 win over the Beavers at Rice-Eccles Stadium. They recorded six sacks and forced four turnovers in leading the program to its inaugural Pac-12 victory.
"Hopefully, this week we'll walk in there against one of the top offenses in the country and play great defense like we did against them last year," Reilly said.
CONFIDENT IN CORVALLIS: Oregon State quarterback Cody Vaz threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns in his starting debut last Saturday against BYU. The junior, who earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors after leading the Beavers to a 42-24 victory, knows he won't be an unknown commodity to the Utes.
“They have the film now, so they won’t be surprised by anything," Vaz told the Corvallis Gazette-Times. "We just have to do the same thing offensively, and that’s execute. If we do that, we can move the ball on any defense.”
EXTRA POINTS: Quarterback Travis Wilson is the fourth true freshman to start for the Utes this season. Punter Tom Hackett, linebacker Reshawn Hooker and offensive lineman Jeremiah Poutasi are the others . . . Utah's last victory at Oregon State was a 22-10 decision in 1991 . . . The Utes will stay in Eugene, Ore., on Friday night and bus to Corvallis on Saturday . . . The "Blackout Game" against Cal on Oct. 27 will start at 7:45 p.m. and be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.
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