Utes offense struggles in 23-20 loss to Stanford

Troy Williams throws two interceptions in Utah's first loss of the season

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) - The Love train stopped in Salt Lake City Saturday night, and the Utes could not stop it.

Bryce Love ran for 152 yards and a 68-yard back-breaking touchdown, as Stanford handed the #20 Utes their first loss of the season, 23-20.

Utah bottled up the nation's leading rusher for most of the night, but the Cardinal (4-2, 3-1 Pac-12) faithfully continued to give their star the ball. On his 18th touch, the 5-foot-10, 196-pound speedster made two defenders miss in the hole and ran away for a 68-yarder that put the Cardinal up 23-13 with 12:02 remaining.

"There were too many busts in pass protection," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said. "Too many guys were turned loose. I won't point the finger at any players. Point it at me and the coaching staff. We won't single anyone out. Stanford played a good football game."

Making his first start of the season, Williams completed 20 of 39 passes for 238 yards and two interceptions.

"Everybody probably hates me right now," a dejected Williams said in the postgame news conference. "You just have to take it on the chin and move on. " just have to play better, bottom line. I have full confidence in my offensive line. I just need to play better."

Quenton Meeks and Justin Reid each recorded interceptions in the 4th quarter as Stanford iced the game.

Williams did hit Darren Carrington for a touchdown with 44 seconds left. But the ensuing onside kick was recoverd by Stanford, ending the game.

"We're really big on grinding it out for however long it takes and we just need one opportunity to make something happen," Love said. " ou're going to have days where things aren't going to open up. You're not going to have 300 yards rushing or 260 or stuff like that. Sometimes, especially against a good team like Utah, you're going to have to get nitty and gritty and really fight."

Keller Chryst threw for 106 yards and ran for a touchdown for Stanford. The senior got the start after missing last week with an undisclosed injury. 

Utah running back Zack Moss had 79 rushing yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, and Carrington had 99 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions. Sunia Tauteoli led the Utah defense with 11 tackles and 3 1/2 for losses for Utah.

Stanford led 13-10 at halftime after Jet Toner made a 46-yard field goal with 6 seconds remaining in the half. The Cardinal didn't have a turnover and put the game away with the two interceptions.

"You might win 2/3 games a year scoring 20 points," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "Zero takeaways, you can't win games when you're minus-2 in turnover margin. That's very unlike us. The running back is tremendous. We held him well below what he usually gets, but not enough."

Total yards were nearly identical, with Stanford gaining 384 yards compared to 382 for Utah.

Utah had nine more first downs, but bogged down in the red zone, settling for two Matt Gay field goals.

"We just didn't execute," Williams said. "We didn't make enough plays."

Utah next plays at USC October 14th at 6:00 on ABC-4.

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