Washington State loss wasn’t the 1st time the Utes have let a lead slip away

first_img Related Wilson, Utes determined to fix passing problem You look at college football every single week and it isn’t unique to us and it doesn’t happen to us frequently in my opinion,’’ he said. “You hope it would never happen, but that’s not ever the case. I think Saturday night it certainly was the case of having somebody down and not knocking them out. – Utah head coach Kyle WhittinghamSALT LAKE CITY — When Utah gave up the 21-0 lead it built up 10 minutes into the game as well as the 24-7 lead it had at halftime, some followers of Ute football were not overly surprised to see Washington State come back for a 28-27 victory.Over the past decade, the Utes have had a propensity for building second-half double-digit leads and letting opponents back in the game — either to win or make the Utes hold on for dear life.Last year the Utes blew a 19-7 fourth-quarter lead to Arizona State and lost 20-19. Against Stanford, the Utes held a 27-14 fourth-quarter lead — just like Saturday — only to see Stanford score and get to the Ute 6-yard line in the final seconds, before the Utes held on to win 27-21. Even against BYU, Utah lost leads of 13-0 and 20-6 and was hanging on at the end for a 20-13 victory.When asked whether it could be a lack of killer instinct, lack of conditioning, or conservative style of play, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham took issue with the idea that it happens to his team more than others.“You look at college football every single week and it isn’t unique to us and it doesn’t happen to us frequently in my opinion,’’ he said. “You hope it would never happen, but that’s not ever the case. I think Saturday night it certainly was the case of having somebody down and not knocking them out.’’Certainly the Utes have put the hammer down on many teams over the years and ended up with big victories. However, there are several games that stand out where the Utes let their opponent back into the game.In Whittingham’s very first game as Ute head coach against Arizona in 2005, the Utes took a 27-10 lead late in the third quarter, but had to hold on for a 27-24 victory. Later that season, the Utes jumped out to a 24-3 lead against BYU, but saw the Cougars storm back to tie the game and force overtime, before the Utes prevailed 41-34. Against Air Force, the Utes led 38-21 with five minutes left and hung on to win 38-35.Against Colorado State they blew a 14-3 fourth-quarter lead and lost 21-17.In 2006 Utah led New Mexico 24-10 at halftime and lost 34-31 and led BYU 24-14 going into final quarter and lost 33-31 when BYU drove the length of the field in the final minute to win.In 2008, Utah led Michigan 25-10 going into the fourth quarter and held on to win 25-23. Even in the famous Sugar Bowl victory, the Utes saw a 21-0 lead evaporate to 21-17 in the third quarter, before they put the Crimson Tide away in a 31-17 victory.In 2012, Utah led BYU 24-7 going into the fourth quarter, but hung on to win 24-21, after nearly seeing the game go into overtime on a last-second field goal try. HOPE FOR CARTER: Whittingham is hopeful that safety Tevin Carter, who missed the Washington State game with an undisclosed injury, will be available for this week’s game against UCLA.“We don’t know for sure, right now, I can tell you that,” Whittingham said. “But we hope to have him back. He’s a very good player and it would be great to get him back.” TOP BACK: After rushing for a career-high 178 yards in Saturday’s loss, junior Devontae Booker is now Utah’s top running back on the depth chart — no longer sharing the spot with Bubba Poole.Whittingham announced Monday that Booker “is our guy” and Poole is the backup after what’s gone down during the first four games.“It’s become apparent that Devontae is the most productive and he will be the starter and Bubba will be No. 2,” Whittingham said.Booker leads the team with 357 yards rushing, while Poole is second with 145.EXTRA POINTS: The Utes gathered Monday morning at 7 to watch the Washington State tape and make corrections, allowing them to get an earlier start on UCLA. … Utah continues to lead the Pac-12 in sacks (4 1/2) and tackles for loss (9 1/2) per game. The Utes are second in the nation in both categories. … Kaelin Clay is the only player in the nation to return three punts and four kicks overall (he took a kickoff back against Idaho State) for touchdowns this season.Contributing: Dirk Facerlast_img