Utes Prepping For First Appearance In Pac-12 Title Game

Nov 26, 2018, 7:18 PM | Updated: 8:14 pm
Utah Utes offensive lineman Jordan Agasiva (79) and teammates celebrate and flash the number eight,...
Utah Utes offensive lineman Jordan Agasiva (79) and teammates celebrate and flash the number eight, indicating their eighth straight victory against the Brigham Young Cougars, after their 35-27 win at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)
(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Utes will head into uncharted waters when they meet Washington in the Pac-12 Championship Game Friday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

It’s the first time in program history that the Utes are playing in a conference game. Sure they’ve won conference titles in the past, but never have they played in a single game for all the marbles like they will on Friday.

Whittingham Excited For Team

Since joining the Pac-12 Conference in 2011, the Utes have come close to playing in the championship game, but haven’t broken through until this season. For head coach Kyle Whittingham, who has been at the helm since 2005, it’s been quite the ride to get to the title game.

“It has been an exciting journey,” said Whittingham. “Like I’ve said many times, when we joined the Pac-12 it was like getting a new job. Everything was different. The bar was raised in virtually every area and coming from a group of five to the Power Five is a huge undertaking. I think bigger than most people realize. I think we did it the right way.”

Whittingham added that it will be a fun week for his team.

“This certainly is an exciting opportunity for our players,” said Whittingham. “This group has done a great job of handling their business this year. Not getting too high or too low and just staying the course.”

Washington Has Title Game Experience

Washington on the other hand, has been here before. As the No. 4 ranked team in the country, the Huskies rolled to a 41-10 rout of Colorado en route to a trip to the College Footballl Playoffs.

Even though the winner is most likely not headed to the College Football Playoffs, Huskies head coach Chris Petersen is excited to compete with Utah with a Rose Bowl berth on the line.

“If you’re not going to the playoffs, everybody is very much dialed into the Rose Bowl,” said Petersen. “Especially with the history of this conference and the Rose Bowl, it would be an awesome, awesome game to go to.”

‘I Am Proud Of Them’

For Whittingham, the biggest thrill of all is going to the championship game with this particular group of players.

“I am proud of our guys for continuing to persevere and fight this season,” said Whittingham. “We overcame so many obstacles and so much adversity. They are just a great group to be around and this has been one of the most enjoyable years of coaching for me. They are just a tough-minded group of players and I am proud of them.”


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