No. 9 Utah faces potentially last major test at Washington
No. 9 Utah (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) at Washington (5-3, 2-3), Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT (FOX).
Line: Utah by 3.
Series record: Washington leads 12-1.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Utah and its stifling defense can’t afford a slipup if it intends on staying in the thick of the Pac-12 South race. The Utes have moved into the fringes of the College Football Playoff conversation, but staying there means running the table in the final month of the regular season. The trip to Seattle appears to be Utah’s final major test with home games against UCLA and Colorado sandwiched around a visit to Arizona. The Huskies haven’t played for two weeks when they were excellent for three quarters against Oregon only to stumble late in a 35-31 loss to the Ducks.
Utah’s defensive front vs. Washington’s offensive line. The Utes have the best run defense in the country giving up 56.4 yards per game. They’re allowing 231 yards total per game. Take away the puzzling loss at USC and the Utes have held their other seven opponents under 350 total yards, highlighted by California’s 83 total yards last week. When Washington’s offense is at its best it is getting the ground game going.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Utah: QB Tyler Huntley. He has been impressive with his passing in his senior year. But it was two years ago when the Utes last visited Seattle where Huntley first flashed his potential as a passer. That night, Huntley threw for 293 yards and two TDs in a 33-30 loss. This season, Huntley is completing 73% of his passes and has a 181.04 passer rating, good for sixth in the country.
Washington: WR Aaron Fuller. The Huskies leading receiver played only a limited number of snaps against Oregon dealing with a leg injury. Fuller is Washington’s biggest deep threat and while the Utes haven’t given up much downfield most of the season, they did show vulnerability in the loss to USC. Getting Fuller targets will be important for balance in Washington’s offense.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Utah’s only win in the series came in 2015, a 34-23 victory in Seattle. … Washington is 3-4 in its last seven vs. top-10 teams. … Utah is outscoring opponents 103-32 in the second half. Conversely, Washington has outscored its opponents 97-13 in the first quarter.