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Utes opt out of bowl game option; will end season Saturday

FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2018, file photo, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham and his team prepares to take the field prior to their game against the BYU during an NCAA college football game, in Salt Lake City. The Utes were selected to win the Pac-12 in the preseason media poll and they're also ranked in the preseason coaches' poll. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

The Utah Utes football team will end their season on Saturday and forgo any potential in playing a bowl game, the team announced Friday.

If the Utes were to win the game Saturday against Washington State, they would become bowl eligible. The team, however, is opting out of any potential postseason bowl.

The decision was made by the players and is supported by head coach Kyle Whittingham, director of athletics Mark Harlan and the Utah Athletics administration, according to a press release.

"Our number one priority is the well-being of our players, and we support the decision they have made," Whittingham stated in a news release.

They have worked extremely hard since they returned to campus this summer, and they have shown tremendous resiliency in dealing with adversity and challenges. We're proud of what they have accomplished on the field and the way they have handled everything off the field. We look forward to beginning our preparations for the 2021 season when the players return to campus in January.

Utah enters Saturday's game with a 2-2 record, winners of two straight games, including a 38-21 victory at 21st-ranked Colorado last Saturday.

"We support our student-athletes in their decision and applaud them for the way they represent the University of Utah," Athletics Director Mark Harlan stated in a news release. "We have said from the beginning of this pandemic that everything is about the health and well-being of our student-athletes. They have done everything asked of them in following the strict protocols that were established to provide them the opportunity to play a football season this fall.

We thank our incredible supporters and fans who have stood alongside us and our student-athletes throughout this unprecedented season.