SAN FRANCISCO — There seems to be no place like the road for the Utah Utes these days.
Although they've lost two straight games at Rice-Eccles Stadium, the Utes have posted back-to-back wins on the road — prevailing by a combined score of 80-24.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham was at a loss for words when asked by his team has been so good away from home.
"I don't have an answer for that. I wish I had a good answer," he said. "One thing I can say is I think our guys handle themselves very well on the road. They understand it's a business trip and we're on the road for one reason and one reason only — that's to try to win a ballgame and not let the distractions interfere with that."
That includes playing football in the home of baseball's San Francisco Giants.
"As long as we've got a field with lines, that's all we need," Whittingham said. "I don't think that will be a factor one way of the other."
HAYS' HOMECOMING: Utah quarterback Jon Hays, who is from Paradise, Calif., is a big fan of San Francisco's Giants and 49ers. He also appreciated Cal and Stanford football a little bit while growing up.
That, however, has changed.
"I'm here," Hays said. "So I'm a Utah fan for the rest of my life."
As for the possibility of Hays being overly pumped for the game, Whittingham isn't concerned about it.
"He's a very even-keeled person," Whittingham said. "He's very mature and I don't think we're going to have that issue."
NO WYNN THIS WEEK: Injured starter Jordan Wynn had surgery on his non-throwing shoulder Thursday and did not make the trip to San Francisco. It'll be the first game Hays won't have Wynn around to advise him.
"Jordan is like another coach. He has complete command and grasp of the offense," Whittingham said. "So if he wasn't in the situation he's in, he would be traveling. This is probably the only game he won't travel."
PAST THE MIDWAY MARK: The Cal game will be Utah's seventh of the season, putting them into the second half of the season.
Whittingham, however, downplayed its significance.
Aside from analyzing tendencies and that type of deal over the first six games, he insists "it's just business as usual."
EXTRA POINTS: Cal leads the all-time series with Utah, 4-3. The Utes, however, have won the past two meetings including a 37-27 victory in the 2009 Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. … Utah sold its entire allotment of 3,000 tickets to the game. … Jeff Tedford, who is in the midst of his 10th season as Cal's head coach, is on the verge of his first four-game losing streak at the helm.
Email: email@example.com Twitter: @DirkFacer
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company