Washington (5-3, 2-3) vs. #9 Utah (7-1, 4-1)
Saturday, November 2nd @ 1:00 p.m. PT
Husky Stadium (Seattle, Washington)
Line: Utah -3.0
Radio: KOMO AM-1000/FM-97.7
During their last game, the Huskies couldn’t hold off a second half surge and lost a 35-31 heartbreaking loss to the rival Oregon Ducks.
This week, the Huskies are facing an opponent who is on a current four game winning streak, after destroying the California Bears 35-0 at home.
So far this season, Utah is 4-1 in Pac-12 conference play, and is boasting the top record in the Pac-12 South Division.
“On to a really good Utah team, those guys are doing a phenomenol job,” Washington head coach Chris Petersen said about their contest against Utah.
Last season, the Huskies beat the Utes twice, with a 21-7 victory in Salt Lake City, Utah, and also a 10-3 victory in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Defensively, the Huskies will have to find a way to create turnovers and stop the Utah rushing attack for an entire four quarters.
Offensively, the Utes will have to establish their running game and take the Husky Stadium crowd out of it with an early score.
Something has to give, in this contest between the physical and elite Utes defense and the “ground and pound” Huskies attack.
KEY PLAYERS: WASHINGTON
QB – Jacob Eason
The junior quarterback transferred from Georgia a couple years ago and possesses one of the strongest arms in the nation for any quarterback. His ability to fit balls into tight passing windows is what makes Eason a threat at all times when the Huskies have the ball.
DB – Myles Bryant
The senior defensive back was converted to safety during the offseason. He is the unquestioned heart and soul of the Husky defense. He was named to the preseason All-Pac-12 first team and was also named to the preseason watch lists for the Nagurski, Thorpe and Bednarik awards.
TE – Hunter Bryant
The junior tight end was named to the preseason All-Pac-12 second team. He was also named to the preseason watch list for the Mackey Award. Bryant is a mismatch nightmare for opposing defenses, with his ability to catch the ball and his physical blocking ability.
KEY PLAYERS: UTAH
QB – Tyler Huntley
The senior quarterback is 122-of-167 passing (1 INT, 10 TD) for 1,778 yards through eight games. He also has 49 carries for 229 yards (3 TD). Through eight games, he ranks fifth in the FBS and first in the Pac-12, in completion percentage (.731).
RB – Zack Moss
The senior running back has 110 carries for 728 yards (6.6 ypc, 104.0 ypg) and 10 touchdowns through seven games. He also has eight catches for 174 yards. Moss is ranked 15th in the FBS and second in the Pac-12 in rush yards per carry, averaging 6.6.
DT – Leki Fotu
The senior defensive tackle was a first-team all-conference player last season, and is one of the best defensive tackles in the country. He is was named to the Outland Trophy preseason watch list. Fotu is tied for eighth in the Pac-12 and second on the team with 7.0 tackles for loss.
ESPN MATCHUP PREDICTOR
– Washington has played Utah only 13 times (12-1), winning the first eight before taking a loss in 2015, with each meeting prior to the 2011 conference matchup in Salt Lake City coming in Seattle.
– Washington PK Peyton Henry enters the week as one of only nine FBS kickers who has made all of his field goal attempts this season, and the only one with 15 or more attempts (next-closest is 13- for-13).
– UW has forced 13 turnovers and has scored on 11 (8 TDs, 3 FGs) of 13 ensuing drives.
– Utah enters this week ranked No. 9 in the AP poll and 10th in the Coaches poll. It is the Utes’ highest rank since earning the No. 3 position on Oct. 18, 2015, with it also being the highest Coaches poll since the same week in 2015 (No. 7).
– The Utes have held four opponents this season to fewer than 10 points (0 by Cal and Idaho State, 7 by Oregon State, 3 by Arizona State), the most in a season by Utah since holding four opponents to single-digits in 2007. The Utes have held an opponent to single digits 25 times under Whittingham.
– Utah’s shutout against California was its first against a Pac-12 school since joining the conference. The Utes have shut out their opponents in eight halves of football this season. Utah has two shutouts this season (Cal, Idaho State), the first time the Utes have had two shutouts in a season since 2003 (BYU, Southern Miss).
Tysen Allumbaugh [“Dawg Thoughts” Show Host] (4-3)
I’m not sure who needed the bye week more, the Huskies or me…
The Utah Utes roll into Husky Stadium as physical and as good as they’ve been in sometime, while also playing good offensive football (which isn’t a given in Salt Lake City).
Can the Huskies tackle better? Be explosive in the passing game? Contain Zach Moss? I’m not so sure but CP has been excellent after bye weeks and I know Husky Stadium should be loud as well.
My heart says UW, my mind says Utah.
I’m going with my brain here, unfortunately, Utes over the Dawgs.
Utah 27 – Washington 24
Jeff Wright (5-3)
A huge positive for the Husky football team this week is they fact that they are coming off a much needed bye week. Most football teams play their best football of the season after a bye week, as the players are physically and mentally rested. It also gave the Husky coaching staff a chance to evaluate everything they do and make improvements. The Huskies have a 12-1 overall record against the Utes, and in years past I would say that the Huskies would win because they have Utah’s number. This year’s version of the Utes feels completely different, as they are playing like an elite football team, as of late. I believe the Huskies ability or inability to stop the run will determine the outcome of the game. Unlike the Oregon game, where the Huskies did it for 2 1/2 quarters; the Huskies must consistently stop Utah’s ground game for a full four quarters. I’m not so sure they have the ability to do that, which concerns me about this game. If the Huskies didn’t have the bye week then I would say that the Utes have the clear advantage in this matchup. However, I’m banking on the fact that the loss to Oregon “lit a fire” with the team and that they got after it during the bye week..coaches included. I don’t see this as a high scoring game as both defenses usually “show-up” in these games. The Huskies are due for a victory where they actually finish a close game. I’ll call this squeaker for the Dawgs!
Washington 17 – Utah 16
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