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October 23, 2011

Cal shuts down Utes

Entering Saturday's contest with Cal as one of the few winless teams in the Pac-12, Kyle Whittingham's Utah squad was hoping to make a statement. The team came in confident after defeating Pitt on the road a week earlier, and was looking to build off of that success against the Bears.

Unfortunately, the statement that was made was one the Utes would have rather kept quiet. In its 34-10 win, the Cal defense was dominant against an overmatched Jon Hays led Utah offense, and the Ute defense was on the field for far too many plays to stop the floodgates from opening.

To show how badly the Utah offense, which has been inept since Jordan Wynn went down with an injury against Washington, performed, just look at one key stat. Utah moved the ball for a paltry 57 yards in the first three quarters of play. In the same amount of time, the Cal defense had nearly as many penalties.

Utah's offensive highlight of the night came on a pass from punter Sean Sellwood to star defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. That was a big problem.

"Nothing happened. That was the problem," Coach Whittingham said after the game. "Nothing good happened for sure on offense. Very anemic. Right now we need to figure out how to move the football and score some points. That is our number one problem without a doubt."

Another four turnovers, all by quarterback Jon Hays doomed the Utes again. Hays' untimely turnovers killed promising looking drives, provided short fields for the Cal offense and even led to Cal's final score on the night, a 36 yard interception return by Josh Hill.

In what has become a disturbing pattern on the season, the Utes failed to score points during any meaningful part of the game. "We didn't [score] tonight, and we didn't last week, and we didn't the week before. But we'll keep trying. He's the guy that gives us the best chance to win right now and we've just got to keep trying to find ways and situations to put him in to be successful. That's our jobs as coaches to do that, and that's what we've got to do," said Whittingham.

Utah's lone touchdown came on a 14 yard scamper by John White, but was far too little, far too late for the overmatched Utes.

Utah returns to Salt Lake City on Saturday with a home game against a struggling Oregon State squad. With most season goals other than bowl eligibility out of reach for the Utes, the matchup against the Beavers is a must-win.


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