The no.16 ( AP)/ No. 15 ( coaches poll) ranked University of Washington Huskies (8-2 overall, 5-5 Pac-12) will have spent the last week reclaiming their identity after last weeks devastating 30-22 loss at Stanford that knocked them out of the College Football playoffs race.
The question of whether they were successful in their soul-searching will be answered Saturday night when the Dogs take on a dangerous Utah Utes( 5-5, 2-5) team Saturday night at Husky Stadium. A look at the Pac-12 South standings shows a Utah team that is in fifth place and one could make the logical assumption that the Utes are a team going nowhere.
A logical assumption that could result in another Husky loss if the Huskies are not in the right frame of mind. The Huskies will need to focused, disciplined and play an error-free game on both sides of the ball. Offensively Utah ranks third in the Pac-12 in time of possession ( 31.42), total offense (298.1 ypg) and are led by wide receiver Darren Carrington II. the Pac-12 leader in receiving yards per game at 96.2 yards. Utah quarterback Tyler Hunley is an agile quarterback who can stretch plays with his feet and has an above average arm.
The Huskies offense will need to play a complete game if it is to have success against one of the better defense in the Pac-12. Utah ranks second in the Pac-12 and is tied for 11th in the nation in fumbles recovered. The stout Utes defense ranks third in the Pac-12 in total defense (345.0), pass efficiency (111.44) and is ranked second in the Pac-12 and 13th in the nation in punt return defense.
For Utah coach Kyle Whittingham the key for his team to win at hostile Husky Stadium will be his team’s ability to establish a run game against the Pac-12’s top-ranked run defense.
“Yeah, I think so. That is another thing in the game on Saturday ( 25-33 loss to WSU) was that we weren’t able to run the ball with near enough efficiency. We have to do a better job of that.” Whittingham said during his weekly press conference. “There are some similarities between Stanford’s rush attack and ours and we have to see if we can get something going. We have to get something going if we want to have a chance to win.”