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Week in, week out, the media gushes about Utah's punter.

Field position is so important ... the things he does are incredible ... and so on.

Tom Hackett has become hackneyed.

Monday, Hackett was asked about blipping again on the Ray Guy radar after punting nine times for 402 yards in Palo Alto.

He's had 20 punts of 50-plus yards, leads the nation with 18 punts inside the 10 and is third in the nation in total punt yards, with 2,996.

Gush all you want, he's just not that impressed by himself.

"I get nine snaps, and that's a lot of snaps," he said. "Generally, I get five snaps, and I go make the most of them. But at the end of the day, I'm kicking, essentially, pigskin. We eat bacon. So I'm kicking bacon down a field for people's entertainment. It's not that big of a deal. I just have a laugh on the sideline and do my job. It's something that's pretty easy."

Hackett repeated his belief that "10,000" Australian rules football players have the same capabilities.

He had been frustrated by his performance against No. 3 Oregon, and read articles on overcoming adversity in the buildup to Stanford.

And he's still not pleased that one of his punts against the Cardinal rolled out for a touchback.

He expects to kick the bacon better.

On that note, here's Hackett's description of his shoestring takedown of Oregon's Johnathan Loyd to end a 51-yard return short of the end zone:

"Normally I punt the ball, I watch the bloody thing go down the field, 80 percent of the time I either get a fair catch, or my gunners are down there to make a play. I don't run down the field, which I probably should do. So I just kicked this one punt, I've seen him just tear the coverage up, and I'm like 'Aw, crap.' So I'm thinking, I'm halfway off the field, about to sit down at my bench, wait for my next call, and I realize I've got to make a play, so I just looked at this bloke in the eye and said 'You ain't scoring on me.'"

The media loves him for more than his punting.

Faith in Travis

Travis Wilson has had his highs — literally, raised atop fans shoulders after beating USC — and lows — sitting on the bench while Kendal Thompson took the reins of what was once undisputedly Wilson's offense.

Against Stanford, Wilson wasn't always at his best, but he was at the best time, throwing two touchdown passes in OT.

At Monday's availability, he sat next to two guys who have helped him persevere during a mentally trying season: his roommate, Hackett, and longtime friend, Kenneth Scott.

Scott told Wilson on Saturday night that the game was in his hands and that he believed in him. For that, Wilson was grateful.

"He's always been next to me, and always been by my side, and always been somebody I can go to, to talk to," he said. "He's a great friend, and I'm definitely happy to be on this team with him."

Hackett said Wilson isn't "a very talkative bloke," around the house, and neither is he very excited to talk about football outside of the facility.

But on Saturday, he saw Wilson looking down on himself on the sidelines, and junior quarterback Adam Schulz approached Hackett and asked him to lend Wilson a word of encouragement.

"So I just went up to him and said, 'Listen, mate, this is the best defense in the Pac-12. We knew we weren't going to come out here and put 400 yards passing on them.' If we did, it would've been great, but we weren't. So I just said, 'It's a 7-7 ballgame. We're not losing. Just go out there and sling the ball. Essentially, we just need one big play. If you get us in field goal range, we'll let Andy [Phillips] do his thing, and that's game, set match.'"

As it happened, Wilson didn't need Phillips' help Saturday. Hackett and Scott — who caught the game-winning touchdown — were enough.

Clay hardship unlikely

It has been mentioned previously that senior wideout and returner extraordinaire Kaelin Clay was hoping to be granted a retroactive medical hardship for his time at Cal, when he tore his meniscus and, he said, the Bears declined to appeal on his behalf.

Monday, informed that Clay is on the list of seniors to be honored at Saturday's game, Whittingham called the possibility of Clay receiving a waiver "remote."

"I think it's really a long shot, and so, that being said, we're going to go ahead and honor Kaelin."

Whittingham feels the odds are much better for senior free safety Tevin Carter to receive a medical hardship waiver and be eligible to return to the Utes next season.

Whittingham game-time decision

Junior linebacker Jason Whittingham has sat since the Fresno State game after injuring his left arm, and Jared Norris, Gionni Paul and Jason Fanaika have performed admirably without him.

But he was among the statistical leaders on Utah's defense last year, recording 81 tackles, and his uncle is hopeful that he'll return to the fold against Arizona on Saturday. If not, he said, he's expected back for Colorado and a bowl game.

Colorado kick

Utah's regular season finale will kick off at either 11 a.m. or noon MT on Nov. 29.

Twitter: @matthew_piper —

No. 15 Arizona at No. 20 Utah

O Saturday, 1:30 p.m TV • ESPN

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