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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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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Utes ready to redeem themselves

By Bryan Chouinard , Asst. Sports Editor

It’s back to square one for Utah this Saturday as head coach Kyle Whittingham and the Utes try to get back to their winning ways when they host the Louisville Cardinals at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

The last time the two programs met was in 2007 when the Utes went into Papa John’s Stadium and beat the Cardinals 44-35 behind inspired performances by Brian Johnson and Darrell Mack. But Johnson and Mack are gone, and the Utah offense will instead rest on the shoulders of quarterback Terrance Cain and running back Matt Asiata. There is, however, an added element to this week’s game8212;the Utes are coming off a loss.

“(The trip back from Oregon) was dead silent,” said center Zane Taylor. “There’s nothing to smile about. It was definitely unlike all the trips I have experienced. It definitely hurt, and I don’t want to feel that way again.”

“I’ll never say a loss is a good thing,” Whittingham said. “But maybe (the loss) will open some eyes to how hard it is to win a Division-I football game and how appreciative you should be of those wins.”

Utah is not only coming off its worst offensive performance of the season but also the worst performance of Terrance Cain’s young career. With Asiata banged up against Oregon, Cain was forced to attempt nine more passes than in any other start this year, but he only completed half of his 40 attempts.

“(Cain) still has a lot to work on,” said offensive coordinator Dave Schramm. “He’s gotten a lot better since spring, but he still has a lot to work on. He got away with some things against Utah State and San Jose (State) that he couldn’t get away with against Oregon. You can’t just walk off a bus, stop and play quarterback in Division-I football. There’s a lot to it.”

All eyes will be on Cain to see how the quarterback will respond coming off the first loss of his career, but what Cain will have in his favor is that Asiata will be closer to 100 percent this week after his light workload against Oregon. The offense is ready to erase the memories of last week when the Cardinals come to Salt Lake City this weekend.

“Most of us who have been major contributors aren’t used to losing,” Taylor said. “So this definitely hurts, and it’s going to motivate us more to work hard and make sure we don’t feel this way again. I expect this to be a violent game; it will be a fun, intense game for sure.”

Louisville is coming off a difficult 31-27 loss to in-state rival Kentucky.

Louisville quarterback Justin Burke had a career day against Kentucky, throwing for 245 yards and two touchdowns.

Although much of Louisville’s personnel is similar to what the Utes faced in Eugene, Ore., Burke poses a much different threat than Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli.

“I look forward to every challenge,” said cornerback R.J. Stanford. “If we’re facing a running quarterback, then I’m going to come up and try to make plays on the run, (with a) drop-back quarterback, I’m going to get back and try to make some plays on the pass.”
Masoli did most of his damage against the Ute defense with his legs, running for two touchdowns and only attempting 16 passes. Burke is much different8212;he prefers to drop back in the pocket and make his living through the air.

“Louisville has a good quarterback with a good strong arm,” said linebacker Mike Wright. “Obviously, they will probably attack our corners who showed some weaknesses in the first couple games, but we got some talented guys back there in our secondary and they have been working hard in practice.

We just need to be aggressive and make big plays as they come to us.”

All eyes will be on the Utah secondary and how they will defend a drop-back passer. The last time Utah faced a throwing threat like Burke was two weeks ago against San Jose State. Against the Spartans, the Utah secondary gave up a total of 242 passing yards.

“(The San Jose State game) was good for us,” Stanford said. “We’re just trying to build off that, take the good and the bad and learn from it.”

Helping Stanford and fellow corner Brandon Burton in the secondary will be safeties Joe Dale and Robert Johnson. Dale leads the team in tackles, and Stanford is coming off a game where he intercepted a ball in the end zone and brought a fumble back for a touchdown. Johnson said he not only expects a pass heavy offense from Louisville, he welcomes it.

“I look forward to every game,” Johnson said. “But knowing a quarterback can throw the ball is a big challenge, and I like it.”

Kick-off is slated for 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

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Mike Mangum/The Daily Utah Chronicle

R.J. Stanford makes a tackle against Oregon. Stanford and the rest of the Utes? secondary will face a bigger challenge this week because of Louisville?s passing attack.

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