The bitter end

By By Paige Fieldsted

By Paige Fieldsted

EUGENE, Ore.8212;The Utah football team hasn’t felt like this in a long time.

The Utes’ 16-game win streak was snapped Saturday afternoon in Autzen Stadium as Utah went down 31-24 to the Oregon Ducks.

“We all wish this could’ve gone on for infinity, but that wasn’t the case,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “We are going through some growing pains as a team and that’s evident.”

Utah’s win streak, which was the longest in the nation, spanned three seasons and included two bowl games.

Despite the media attention and hype surrounding the win streak, Whittingham said the team didn’t feel any pressure.

“We really didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to it,” Whittingham said. “It was always there and talked about on occasion, but we are focused on this year and there is certainly no negative effect on us.”

After going almost two years without a loss, the Utes aren’t accustomed to the feeling of losing.

“It’s a foreign feeling and it’s not a good feeling,” said senior
captain Zane Beadles. “The reason why you play the game of football is to win, and it’s not fun unless you win, and that’s the bottom line.”

The last time the Utes came away from a game without a W in the win-loss column was against rival BYU during the 2007 regular season.

“It feels unnatural; I hate this right now,” said Stevenson Sylvester. “I loved to carry around the win streak. I love to win and I shoot to win for everything and would’ve loved to keep this streak going. It’s something that’s good for this program and I wish it would’ve stayed on, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Although the Utes are in foreign territory, they don’t plan on taking the loss or the feeling of losing any further into the season.

“That’s what happens in college football,” Sylvester said. “We hate to lose, but it does happen, so we’ve got to learn to cope with it.”

The Utes have only a week to regroup before welcoming Louisville to Rice-Eccles Stadium for their last nonconference game of the season, but said they plan on learning from the mistakes they made this game.

“We’re not going to take this loss into next week,” Robert Johnson said. “We’re going to come back with our minds right and play Utah Utes football.”

Even though the Utes’ chances of returning to a BCS bowl are unlikely after the loss, the players don’t take the loss as a huge blow to the season and said they think they can still be successful.

“We’ve got a lot of football ahead us,” Whittingham said. “Our first and foremost goal every year is to win the MWC Championship, and this has done nothing to derail that. We’ve certainly got a lot of things to work on and a lot of areas to improve.”

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Lennie Mahler

Lei Talamaivao and the Utes walk off the field after their 16-game winning streak was broken at Autzen Stadium.