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While John White remains as Utah's starting running back, the Utes continue to look for more yardage out of the run game.

The first big change they are making is promoting freshman Harvey Langi to the backup role, ahead of veteran Tauni Vakapuna.

Langi has a mere six carries for 37 yards for the season and had just one carry for one yard against Washington, but nevertheless has shown improvement, according to coach Kyle Whittingham.

"The pass protection was the biggest thing holding him back, and he has come a long ways," Whittingham said.

Vakapuna, who re-joined the team in the summer after leaving the Utes for family reasons, has 16 carries for 22 yards.

He didn't have a carry against the Huskies and rushed six times for just six yards against BYU.

Altogether, the Utes managed just 17 rushing yards against the Huskies on 23 carries, a statistic that was still on Whittingham's mind Tuesday.

"We didn't have enough balance in the offense," he said. "We have to be able to run the ball and establish something on the ground."

Of particular importance to Whittingham is yards after contact, an area in which the Utes continue to struggle.

"We only had nine yards after contact against Washington," Whittingham said. "We're not making the tough yards we need to make."

Vakapuna said he understood the coaches' decision to go with Langi, and said all the backs have to work harder.

"We've got to start breaking tackles," he said. "It's not science, we just have to run with more desire."

Circled on the calendar

While Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson said the Sun Devils don't put any more emphasis on one conference game over another, he did admit the Utah game has intrigued him from the start and envisions the two could become strong rivals.

"They've got a great tradition and this is a game I've been looking forward to seeing since the beginning of the season," he said.

Erickson said he knew Utah's stadium could get loud and said the team has been practicing its silent counts and making other preparations for what he expects to be a hostile environment.

ASU lost at Illinois 17-14 in its only road game this year.

"We expect our team to be a better team on the road this week than we were at Illinois," he said.