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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Utah gets first loss in Oregon

By Bryan Chouinard

EUGENE, Ore.8212;The Ducks and Autzen Stadium proved too much for the Utes to handle Saturday when, for the first time in nearly two calendar years, the Utes lost 31-24.

After averaging more than 500 yards of offense through the first two games of the season, the Utes were held to 297 yards on Saturday and 24 points for the second straight week.

“We expect to come out and win every ball game we play,” said left tackle Zane Beadles. “I’m proud of the way the guys fought, but we can’t have an offensive first half like we did and expect to win games.”

With two seconds remaining in the first half sitting on the Oregon two-yard line, head coach Kyle Whittingham elected to go for the touchdown. But as time expired, all-American Walter Thurmond III broke up the pass intended for wideout David Reed to send the Utes to the locker room down 21-7.

“In hindsight, maybe you kick the field goal,” Whittingham said. “I thought we were going to punch it in obviously, or I wouldn’t have called the play.”

“I wanted to get the ball up to David Reed,” said quarterback Terrance Cain. “I liked the one-on-one matchup and the defense made a great play.”

Despite having the ball for seven more minutes than the Ducks, the Utah offense went into the second half after one of its worst offensive halves of the season, accumulating only 136 yards of total offense. But the Utes battled back in the third quarter when Cain completed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Jereme Brooks to cap off a 10-play 71-yard drive to pull the Utes within 11.

Utah struck again only 17 seconds later when free safety Robert Johnson returned Jeremiah Masoli’s fumble 28 yards to the end zone to make the score 28-24 with just more than three minutes remaining in the third quarter.

But Utah’s offense continued to struggle in the fourth quarter against the speedy defense of Oregon. In an effort to catch up, Cain threw two interceptions within three minutes of each other to put the game out of reach and seal the win for the Ducks.

“(Oregon) is a fast football team,” Whittingham said. “Exactly what you would expect from an upper-level Pac-10 team, and that’s what they are.”

The Oregon secondary held Cain to 20 of 41 and only 178 passing yards after the junior had averaged 267 yards per game in his previous two starts. The two interceptions bring Cain’s season total to three on the year.

“We don’t shoot to give the ball up that much,” said linebacker Stevenson Sylvester. “And we on defense need to get more turnovers. But you got to put that behind you. It’s like Tiger (Woods), he misses a putt or something, he takes three seconds to blow it off and he forgets all about it.”

To go along with Cain’s struggles, senior running back Matt Asiata had his worst rushing day of 2009, being held to a season-low 58 yards on only 15 attempts. Asiata’s touches have decreased each week this season, after receiving 26 touches in the season opener.

“We’re going through some growing pains right now as a team,” Whittingham said. “We’re still figuring out who we are in a lot of ways.”

“We got a lot of playmakers on this team,” Beadles said. “But we have to go out there and make plays. There’s nothing else to it.”

For the first time this season or last, the Utes’ speed on offense was matched by a defense that shut down the Utah attack both through the air and on the ground.

“I go against a fast defense every day,” Cain said. “Their speed was great, but you can’t make that an excuse.”

espite being held in check, team captains Beadles and Sylvester said they know that the Utes will rebound in the upcoming weeks.

“This offense is very explosive,” Beadles said. “We got a ton of playmakers all over the field, a ton of speed, it’s just the little things here and there that we need to get corrected.”
“Our ultimate goal is to win the Mountain West Conference championship,” Sylvester said. “It was a great game but we can’t look at this as a negative; this is what college football is all about.”

The Utes will look to start another win streak this Saturday when they return home to take on the Louisville Cardinals.

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Tyler Cobb

Terrance Cain threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter of the game against Oregon. He finished the day completing 20 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown.

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