Arizona State vs USC, September 24, 2011
Homecoming was not what the 45,000-plus fans had planned on witnessing Saturday night. The Washington Huskies had come to town for the Utes' first Pac-12 home game at Rice-Eccles stadium.
Utah was supposed to make it competitive. It was for about the first half and then things really went south.
The Utes quarterback Jordan Wynn went down with a left shoulder injury. The Utes turned the ball over five times, and Washington never looked back after the score was 10-7 in the Husky's favor after half time.
Welcome to the Pac-12, or just a string of bad luck? Whatever the case, the Utes will now have to come up with a new game plan and quick after getting schooled by Washington, 31-14, at home.
Arizona State blows into town next week, and will be looking forward to renewing its rivalry with the Utes with a big "W" on the road.
Wynn is questionable for the Oct. 8 game with a shoulder injury, and the team play was haphazard this past week against the Huskies. So, offensive coordinator Norm Chow better be ready with some quick damage control, or the Utes will have a long game against the Sun Devils.
Head coach Kyle Whittingham needs to get the troops in order on both sides of the ball. The defense needs some good retooling and tightening up if it hopes to have a chance against the Sun Devil offense.
Whittingham will have to put more of himself into the offense as well, working with Chow to come up with something to bring out against the Sun Devil defense or Sparky will scorch the Utes' offense.
Bring in Jon Hays, the backup quarterback. Time to build an offensive scheme that works for the more mobile quarterback. Since Wynn will probably not start next week, Hays will need to step it up and quick.
The offensive line will also need to protect him well so he has time to lead his troops in moving the ball and making plays. It is said there is no better time like the present. Well Utes, the present is here.
The Pac-12 meat grinder has arrived. Now time to respond. You can act or be acted upon. The latter of the two will get you creamed. So watch some tape, get creative and get ready to welcome your former Western Athletic Conference rival back to Salt Lake City. They are very much looking forward to the game, especially an easy one where the script is decided in Arizona State's favor.
One thing the Utes have historically been good at is playing some great quarters of football, but four solid quarters, not so much. So time to put away this loss and get ready for the next game, because Washington is a good team. Arizona State is better and it is ready to score and run it up nicely.
How will Utah respond? I am not sure. But snatching defeat from the jaws of victory will not be an option anymore.