SALT LAKE CITY — Yes, the Utah Utes insist they’ll continue to take things one game at a time. That means Saturday’s clash with BYU is the primary focus this week.
However, win or lose, the Utes will still be one win away from going to the Rose Bowl. That possibility will be addressed in their first Pac-12 Championship Game appearance Nov. 30 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, against Washington or Washington State.
“We just try to take it each game at a time. I really try not to go past that because we’re not trying to get big-headed over here,” senior center Lo Falemaka said before being reminded that the reality of playing for Pasadena is a reality.
“It’s there,” Falemaka finally acknowledged.
Even so, first things first.
“I think it's just focus on this week and then figure out the next week — next week,” said senior punter Mitch Wishnowsky.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham confirmed that the Utes aren’t altering their approach to the situation and looking ahead or anything like that.
“It’s just a normal week," he said.
ON TARGET(ING): Utah linebacker Chase Hansen said he was disappointed in having to leave the Colorado game with a targeting penalty in the first quarter.
“I wanted to play in that one. But we got the win,” Hansen explained. “I’m fresh and there’s plenty of positives that came from it.”
Namely, it allowed BYU transfer Francis Bernard and others to show that the Utes have depth.
HISTORIC HONOR: Wishnowsky has become the first three-time finalist for the Ray Guy Award, an annual honor for the nation’s top punter. Wishnowsky won the award in 2016 and was a finalist in 2017. This year, he’s in the final three with Braden Mann (Texas A&M) and James Smith (Cincinnati). The winner will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show in Atlanta on Dec. 6 (5 p.m., ESPN).9 comments on this story
Wishnowsky, a multi-year All-American who tops the Pac-12 in punt average (45.9 yards), is seeking to join Tom Hackett (2014, 2015) as a two-time winner of the award for Utah.
EXTRA POINTS: Utah leads the nation in red-zone defense (59.4 percent) . . . Senior punter Matt Gay is second in the nation in field goals made with 23 . . . Students will be collecting donations for the Utah Food Bank on the stadium concourse before the game. Non-perishable food can also be taken to the Alumni House during normal business hours until Nov. 30.