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Utah football: Utes looking for 'signature' win

Published November 5, 2012 3:47 pm

Utah football • Team heads to Washington with 0-4 mark away from home this season.
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The Utah Utes say they have more confidence now than they've had at any point in the season thanks to their two-game winning streak.

But the Utes know they have to win on the road to show their play has risen along with their confidence.

Achieving that feat hasn't been so easy for the Utes in the Pac-12.

The Utes, who play at Washington on Saturday, were just 1-3 in league games on the road in 2011 and haven't won a road game this season.

The Utes say playing away from Rice-Eccles Stadium isn't any different to them but acknowledged their record shows otherwise.

"I think it's a bigger difference in basketball," defensive end Joe Kruger said. "Mainly for us, it's just preparation and schemes and if we play like we've been playing, we'll get through it."

Breaking that streak against Washington could be tough considering the Huskies, who are playing at CenturyLink Field while Husky Stadium is being renovated, are 4-1 in Seattle.

Among the wins are a 17-13 victory over No. 8 Stanford and a 20-17 win over No. 7 Oregon State. The loss was a 24-14 decision to USC.

Interestingly, the Huskies have struggled on the road as much as the Utes have. Their 21-13 win at Cal on Friday was the Huskies' first road victory in more than a year.

Their previous victim? Utah, which they beat 31-14 on Oct. 1, 2011.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said the venues have little to do with Utah's success rate.

"It's more so the level of competition we're facing week in and week out," he said.

The closest the Utes have come to winning away this season was their 27-20 overtime loss at Utah State.

Since then, the Utes have been outscored 79-28 in three road games.

Utah running back John White is optimistic Utah's road woes will end this week after the Utes put up 49 points in their last two games.

"We've got a lot of momentum going on right now," he said. "We have to come away with a win, find a way."

When asked about freshman quarterback Travis Wilson's development, Whittingham said his next step would be to get a "signature" win on the road. Whittingham quickly pointed out the whole team needed the win, but Wilson admitted he feels it's on him to produce.

He made his starting debut at UCLA when the Utes lost 21-14.

"It's definitely the next big thing we need to do," he said. "I, we lost in the Rose Bowl and Oregon State, too, so it's definitely the next big thing in my career. It would be huge for me and for this team and just getting us one step closer to a bowl game, too."

Wilson and the offense as a whole have been playing better since the Utes slimmed down their playbook.

Wilson said the emphasis should be on their level of play, not where the game is being played.

"We just have to play like we have been the last couple of weeks and make sure we stay confident and not get out of our zone just because we are on a different field," he said. "We have to execute like we have been the last few weeks." —

Utes on the road this year

at Utah St. L, 27-20

at ASU, L, 37-7

at UCLA, L, 21-14

at Oregon St., L, 21-7

at Washington, Saturday




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