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How Utah Football Is Fixing Their Turnover Issues

Utah Utes quarterback Jake Bentley (8) throws the ball during a PAC12 football game between the Utah Utes and the Washington Huskies on November 28, 2020, at Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA. (Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Nine times in eight quarters. That’s how many times Utah has turned the ball over in their first two games of the season.

In their season opener against USC, Utah turned the ball over 5 times with 3 interceptions thrown and two fumbles. Last week against Washington, Utah turned the ball over 4 times with two interceptions and two fumbles.

On the flip side, the Utes forced two turnovers against USC, including one fumble and one interception. Both of those turnovers were forced by linebacker Nephi Sewell. He returned the fumble for a touchdown.

Utah was able to force Washington to commit 3 turnovers last Saturday with 3 interceptions. Faybian Marks, Zemaiah Vaughn and Vonte Davis each had a pick versus the Huskies.

How Utah Is Fixing Turnover Issues

In two games, Utah fumbled the ball 4 times. The most lost fumbles in college football belongs to Duke with 15 but they have played 9 games. As far as interceptions go, the Utes have thrown five picks in two games. Duke has the most picks thrown with 15 through 9 games.

At his weekly press conference, head coach Kyle Whittingham addressed the turnover issue.

“We go about it every day of the week, we dedicate periods to nothing but ball security drills. We’ve been doing that for years,” said Whittingham. “Andy’s (Ludwig) very tuned into that. Nobody is neglecting that, nobody is not paying attention to that, we’re all paying attention to it. If you boil it right down to the bare bones, that’s been our issue. If we turn the ball over one time in those first two games in each game, we probably wouldn’t both them. But that’s the shoulda, woulda, coulda. That’s not the case. But that’s how impactful it’s been. It’s something that we will continue to emphasize. There coming comes a point where you harp on things too much, it becomes almost a self fulfilling prophecy where it becomes a negative, if you if you rant and rave about it too much. Our guys understand how important it is. There’s nobody on our offense who doesn’t get it as far as ball security. So we’ve just got to continue to try to do a better job.”

Since Jake Bentley entered the USC game in the second quarter for the injured Cam Rising, the South Carolina graduate transfer is 32-of-51 passing for 315 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. He talked about the turnover issues on Tuesday with the media.

“It starts with me,” Bentley stated. “I got to be better in that area for sure. You know, it’s something that has to be eliminated if we want to win games and something we plan on getting fixed this week in practice.”

Utah OC ‘Disgusted’ By Amount Of Turnovers

Utah offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig was asked if he was surprised at the amount of turnovers the offense has committed through the first two games.

“I am disgusted with it not surprised, disgusted,” Ludwig stated. “Didn’t didn’t see it coming. We have been a very good ball security football team and it is a constant point of emphasis with every player on the offensive unit. But obviously we have to do a much better job of taking care of the football. It’s all about the ball. So you got to do a much better job especially starting with the quarterback position.”

The Utes will return to Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday, December 5 to host the Oregon State Beavers. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. MST and will be televised on ESPN.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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