SALT LAKE CITY — Sole possession of the Pac-12 South lead proved to be fleeting for the Utah Utes. Before Saturday night’s 23-20 loss to Stanford, they were all alone on top with a 1-0 conference record. Yes, a 1-0 conference record. A precarious position, no doubt, considering eight games remained on the schedule.

The Utes (4-1, 1-1) now find themselves among a crowd of one-loss squads in the division — USC, Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham referred to the lack of undefeated teams as the big picture.

“It’s a long season. It’s one 12-game season. It’s not 12 one-game seasons,” he said. “Sometimes you get caught up in that trying to make such a big deal out of every single game. It’s a marathon.”

As such, Whittingham added, there’s a lot of football left and that needs to be kept in mind.

“There’s a lot of leadership in that locker room,” he noted. “And like I’ve said, my gut is they’ll bounce back and play well.”

It won’t be easy. however. Utah’s next game is Saturday at 13th-ranked USC (5-1, 3-1). Whittingham said the Utes need to dig down and rely on their competitive spirit and work ethic in preparing for the Trojans.

After Saturday’s shortcomings against Stanford, Whittingham acknowledged that they’ve got their work cut out for them this weekend. He identified a lack of points and takeaways as the biggest factors following the loss to the Cardinal.

There were other concerns as well, such as the need to complete more passes and get better snaps on punts and kicks.

Whittingham, though, insists he’s not going to point the finger at any one player. It’s not his style. He’d rather have such criticism be directed at himself and the coaching staff.

There’s competition at every position, Whittingham continued, and nothing is sewn up. He …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

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