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For the dozenth time, Utah's seesawing quarterback battle appeared to hold one above the other.

Kendal Thompson got the start against the No. 5 Ducks and on the first drive — marshaling an offense that finally resembled what coordinator Dave Christensen ran at Wyoming — ran, threw and pitched his way downfield for a score.

And then Utah got a very unnecessary reminder that it pays to have two experienced quarterbacks.

On his second drive — head coach Kyle Whittingham wasn't sure on which play — Thompson sustained a season-ending knee injury. After stepping into a throw downfield to Tim Patrick, he fell to the turf, and Whittingham confirmed after the game that he is done for the season.

And so, for that matter, is Patrick, who later went down with an apparent leg injury in the north end zone, and was carted off to respectful applause. It's a blow to a receiving corps that had already lost senior captain Dres Anderson for the season — and a one-two combo to the heart of a passing attack that was already less than stellar.

Whittingham called both Thompson and Patrick "very hard workers." "We're going to miss those guys."

The head coach wasn't sure after the game which redshirt freshman quarterback will emerge as Wilson's backup — Brandon Cox or Connor Manning.

For what it's worth, after the Utes retook the field for the second half, Manning was throwing alongside Wilson. Both have received praise from quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick.

And Wilson had his most prolific game in Pac-12 play, albeit in a 51-27 loss, completing 18-of-28 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns. Both deep throws to Clay were on the money, and the junior said afterward that he was pleased coaches allowed him to throw downfield.

"That's something we really needed to do, and that's something that was lacking the last couple weeks," he said.

At receiver, Whittingham said it will be up to Jameson Field, Kenric Young, Andre Lewis or Delshawn McClellon to replace Patrick.

— Matthew Piper

Twitter: @matthew_piper