It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue like "Remember the Alamo."

Even so, one of Utah's prime motivations this week is "Remember Laramie."

Last season's 31-15 loss at Wyoming is still fresh in the minds of the Utes.

"Wyoming put a whopping in us," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who noted that the game wasn't as close as the score indicated.

"They ripped us up front on both sides of the ball," he added as the Utes prepared for today's game with the Cowboys at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.

A victory would assure Utah of a fifth consecutive winning season and most likely lock up another bowl invitation.

The Utes, however, aren't looking that far ahead.

"Do we have another game after Wyoming?" offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig said. "I don't even know."

With three games remaining in the regular season, Utah is subject to a variety of scenarios. A share of the Mountain West Conference title remains a possibility. So, too, does a couple of bowl destinations.

"Obviously we can't worry about the help that we get. We just have to focus on ourselves. We have to do our part," quarterback Brian Johnson said. "It's not hard at all. I'm just focused, completely focused, on winning football games."

The Utes, he continued, will worry about everything else when the time comes. They enter today's contest on a five-game winning streak. The quest for six began shortly thereafter.

Any talk of next week's home finale against New Mexico, the season-ending game at BYU, or bowl scenarios fall upon deaf ears.

Utah is taking measured steps down the stretch.

"It's not one game at a time. It's one practice at a time," Whittingham said. "Our focus is narrowed down to that."

First step: Avenging last year's poor showing at Wyoming. The Cowboys manhandled the Utes and sacked quarterback Brett Ratliff six times.

Utah lineman Zane Beadles said Wyoming's line had a great scheme and attacked differently than any team the Utes had faced. After making adjustments, however, they simply didn't execute well enough.

Things may not be easier this team around.

"We expect to see a solid defensive team," Whittingham said. "... They have a lot of the same faces on defense that they had last year. Their front seven is fast and aggressive and their corners are very good."

The Cowboys enter the game ranked sixth in the nation in total defense. They're giving up just 186.4 yards in the air and 100.9 on the ground.

A tough challenge, Whittingham noted, even with home-field advantage.

"That's no comfort at all. The only comfort I have is in the consistent play we've gotten from Brian Johnson at quarterback and with our running game," he said. "Given the outcome of last year's game with Wyoming, we're still going to have to work hard to get this win on Saturday."

The Utes are 6-0 this season when tailback Darrell Mack rushes for 100 or more yards and 5-0 in games that Johnson has started and finished.


Utes on the air

Wyoming (5-4, 2-3) at Utah (6-3, 3-2)

Today, 1:30 p.m.; Rice-Eccles Stadium

Radio: 700AM; TV: CSTV


E-mail: [email protected]