Ducks trying to get over big loss
SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah coach Urban Meyer is still a little baffled when he looks at the final statistics from Oregon's embarrassing loss to Washington State.
Seven interceptions, two fumbles and two blocked kicks in the 55-16 rout were just a run of unbelievable bad luck as far as Meyer is concerned. And he doesn't expect to see anything like it when the No. 19 Ducks (4-1) visit the Utes (3-1) on Friday night.
"That's just very uncharacteristic," Meyer said. "Oregon is going to be Oregon. They're a fast, talented team. I'd say a Top 10-talented team."
Fortunately for the Ducks, the wait between games wasn't as long as it could have been. The rare Friday night game gave Oregon one less day to try to forget what happened against the Cougars.
It was so bad coach Mike Bellotti said he was filing the game tape where the Ducks felt it belonged -- in the garbage.
"When you have a game like this where unfortunately you commit so many turnovers and make so many mistakes, I don't think anybody could say there was one play that cost us the game," Bellotti said.
Just a week before, the Ducks had been celebrating after upsetting then-No. 3 Michigan 31-27, a win that pushed Oregon's ranking from No. 22 to No. 10.
"I think we were still living it up from the Michigan and thinking everybody was going to roll over for us. But that's not what happened," Oregon wide receiver Samie Parker said. "We've got to bounce back this week."
After finishing the 2001 season at No. 2, the Ducks ended last season with a 7-6 record. Oregon lost its last four games and six of its last seven.
The Ducks appeared to be back among the contenders after the Michigan win. But that was before the drubbing at the hands of the Cougars.
"We've got a lot of things to prove and show," Parker said. "This isn't the same team we had last year where we had loss after loss."
Oregon hasn't played Utah since 2001, when Joey Harrington led the Ducks to a 24-10 win in Eugene. Paris Warren was a freshman receiver on that team and threw a 50-yard pitch pass for the Ducks, then transferred to Utah after the season.
Warren, who leads the Utes in receiving with 24 catches for 245 yards, doesn't attempt to hide his dislike for Oregon or how much he desires to beat his old team. But Meyer prevented his receiver from providing any bulletin board material to the Ducks with a gag order this week.
"I'm a big believer in just shutting your mouth and playing football," Meyer said. "All you ever say is great things about your opponent. That's the rule here at Utah."
The rest of the Utes seem to have gotten the message.
"I think they're going to be more dangerous," strong safety Dave Revill said. "I don't think that last week had any reflection of what they are. I think they're a really good team. I think they just had a little bit of bad luck last week."
Friday is Utah's final non-conference game. The Utes opened Mountain West Conference play last week by upsetting defending MWC champion Colorado State 28-21 on an 80-yard fumble return with 1:33 remaining.
The Rams were well within field goal range before Arnold Parker came up with the big return. So instead of being 2-2 entering Friday night's game, the Utes have a chance at starting Meyer's first season at Utah 4-1 and doing it in front of a national television audience.
"This is huge. This is once again an opportunity for us to showcase our program," Meyer said.
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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