Utah sophomore wide receiver Harrison Handley led the Utes in receiving in their last game, finishing with two catches for 69 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown reception. Unfortunately for Handley, the Utes (8-2) fell to Arizona (6-5) on the road in double overtime, 37-30.
It was the third time this season that the Utes have had a game decided by one possession. They won the previous two, but Saturday was a different story.
“Yeah, we’ve had a couple games like that,” Handley said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “The past couple games have been a little bit close, but this last one came down to a couple plays. Just like Coach (Whittingham) said, they ended up making a couple more plays than we did, which hurts. But at the same time, it’s an eye-opener. I think it’ll get us ready for the next two games that we have.”
To the casual observer, it might seem implausible that Arizona, which entered the game with a 5-5 record, could knock off a top-10 team. That, however, is the nature of the Pac-12, which Scott Ferrall feels does not get enough respect.
“Right, it’s true,” Handley said. “We look at every single game as if it’s our hardest game of the year. You look at all the Pac-12, and it all just implodes on itself. You have all the teams that can be having a bad year and then all of a sudden they come out to play one game and they beat you. They sneak up behind you and beat you. That’s how we kind of take our approach. Just every single game you can never look past it – just because every single team is good and they have Pac-12 recruits that want to go to each school. They’re going to be ready to play.”
Utah, which fell to No. 13 in the College Football Playoff rankings, closes the season with home games against UCLA (7-3) and Colorado (4-7). Despite losing two of their last four games, the Utes can still play in the Pac-12 Championship if they win out.
Whittingham made sure that tidbit isn’t lost on his players.
“Exactly, that’s what he said,” Handley said. “We’re already this far into the season. (We have a) good record. Obviously we can’t do anything about the loss that we had. What he was pretty much trying to say to the whole team was take that as a learning opportunity. Everyone hates to lose. Everyone hates that feeling that you get after the game and watching film on Mondays when you get in. We just take that and put it into the burner and let it fire us up for UCLA.”