SALT LAKE CITY – Utah coach Kyle Whittingham can’t remember any of his teams committing 10 turnovers over the course of two games.
The Utes, in their first year in the Pac-12, couldn’t have picked a worse time to hit the horrible mark.
Brock Osweiler passed for 325 yards and three touchdowns and No. 22 Arizona State forced five Utah turnovers to turn a close game into a 35-14 victory Saturday.
Sensing the frustration from a team that wasn’t used to losing in the Mountain West Conference, Utah players and coaches held an impromptu team meeting after the game.
Whittingham refused to divulge details, but said, “The theme of it was that we need to stick together while we get things sorted out. We need to hang tough, because it doesn’t get any easier.”
The Utes lost the ball five times against Washington last week and duplicated the feat against ASU.
“We’ve been getting turnovers the last three or four games, and that’s what it’s all about. You look every year at the stats and the best teams are ahead in the turnover margin,” ASU coach Dennis Erickson said.
The loss marked the first time Utah has lost three straight conference games since 2002, Ron McBride’s final year as coach.
“Seniors on our team have never had a losing record. We’re all mad and frustrated,” said Trevor Reilly, who had three of the Utes’ eight tackles for loss.
Jon Hays, playing for the injured Jordan Wynn, threw three interceptions in his first major college start for the Utes (2-3, 0-3 Pac-12).
“I’m disappointed with how I played. I put the defense in some terrible spots,” said Hays, who was 18 of 30 for 199 yards.
Osweiler had the third 300-yard game of his career to lead the Sun Devils (5-1, 3-0).
Utah took a 14-10 lead with 10:32 left in the third quarter on Hays’ 2-yard TD pass to Dallin Rogers.
“We had the momentum but the wheels came off in a hurry,” Whittingham said.