PROVO Almost as much as Utah will lament not making key plays in the final two minutes of Saturday's loss, the Utes will kick themselves for all the penalties they had.
Utah came into Saturday's game averaging six penalties for 57 yards per game. Against BYU, the Utes were way above their season average with 10 penalties for 94 yards, including a couple of key penalties on BYU's winning touchdown drive.
Even after the long pass from Max Hall to Austin Collie, two penalties covering 30 yards helped moved the Cougars toward the end zone.
The first, from the Utah 39, was an unnecessary roughness call on safety Robert Johnson, who came across to hit Dennis Pitta after Sean Smith helped break up the pass.
The Utes didn't like the call because it looked like the same thing that happened earlier in the quarter when BYU's Bryan Kehl leveled Ute freshman Jereme Brooks as a pass sailed over his head, but nothing was called.
Then on the next play, Utah's R.J. Stanford was whistled for a pass interference penalty against Michael Reed. Those two penalties helped the Cougars move from the 39 to the 14 in two plays.
"We had some tough calls at the end," said Ute defensive end Paul Kruger. "Those calls definitely killed us."
When asked afterward about his team's penalties, Ute coach Kyle Whittingham held his tongue.
"You know, I'll have to look at the film and see what I thought," Whittingham said. He then paused, before adding, "Uh, I'll have to look at the film."
GOING BOWLING: After the loss, Whittingham said, "Hopefully we have one more game to play. I'm not sure where or when, but we are looking forward to it."
The Utes are almost certainly playing in a bowl game with an 8-4 record and wins in seven of their last eight games. And it still looks like the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 20 is likely.
Poinsettia Bowl representative Gary Rectenwald said coming into the game his bowl would have been happy with either Utah or BYU.
"The BCS has to release teams and if they release BYU, I would guess Las Vegas would take BYU as the conference champion," Rectenwald said. "Utah is still squarely in our picture. We're going to get together Monday morning and talk about it. We're going to make a recommendation probably following our meeting Monday."
TRICKERY: A lot was made before the game about the possibility of trick plays, which the Utes have used to their advantage all season.
The Utes tried a few Saturday afternoon, but the BYU defense was up to the challenge.
Late in the first half, when the Utes got into Cougar territory at the 47, they tried a triple reverse with Freddie Brown getting the ball last. However, he was dropped for a 5-yard loss and the Utes couldn't move any closer.
After BYU went up 6-3 in the second half, the Utes tried a reverse with Derrek Richards taking it and pitching to Jereme Brooks. However, the play went nowhere, with Brooks getting dropped at the 13. With the Utes getting called for an illegal block, the Utes were left in a hole back on the 7-yard line.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Utes tried a double reverse pass with Johnson getting the ball back. However, his pass, intended for Brooks on the east sideline, was overthrown.
LOUKS LOOKS: After not using it at all against New Mexico, the Utes used their Corbin Louks package, with the freshman quarterback running the ball five times for 28 yards, including two key runs on the Utes' touchdown run.
The 6-foot, 171-pound Louks ran for 10 yards on third-and-4 from the 16-yard line to the 6 and then to the 1-yard line on the next play before being replaced by Johnson.UTE NOTES: Louie Sakoda broke a record for career field goals with his 19th field goal of the season. Sakoda, who is 19-for-22 this year, broke the mark set by Andre Guardi in 1985 ... Sakoda also punted well with seven punts for a 44.7-yard average ... The Utes are now 0-2 when trailing at halftime this year. They were tied in their losses to Oregon State and UNLV and led in every game they won ... Utah came into the game fifth in nation in scoring defense at 15.5 points per game ... Tate needed six tackles for a second 100-tackle season but finished with three on the day. Robert Johnson led the Utes with 12 tackles, while Joe Jiannoni had seven tackles, plus an interception.
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