It certainly wasn’t pretty, but Washington’s win over California was still a victory and when the season is over it will still be counted in the left hand column. Good thing there are no style points in football because this win against the Bad News Bears was just about as ugly as they come. So now the Dawgs need to tighten up their chinstraps because a hard hitting Utah team is coming to town and they will show no mercy if the Huskies don’t improve their overall game by 7:30 Saturday night.
After starting league play with four straight losses, the Utes have absolutely smashed their last two league opponents by scoring 49 points each against both Colorado and WSU. They did it the old fashion way by running the football and playing great defense but have also benefited from three 100 yard kickoff returns by the same player, Reggie Dunn. That feat in itself is one for the record books and certainly broke the backs of both California and WSU. Obviously, the Huskies need to either kick away from Dunn or at least cover kicks with their very best players.
While they’re at it they better stop the Ute’s running back, John White who is the key to Utah’s whole resurgence. Consider this stat: whenever White rushes for over 100 yards (11 times) the Utes have won all 11 games and whenever he has rushed for less than 100 yards (10 times) they have lost every game. That makes the goal for the defense very easy; hold John White under 100 yards and make their freshman quarterback, Travis Wilson beat you. Wilson has only started four games and is only the third freshman quarterback to start in the league, joining Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Brett Hundley of UCLA. (That’s pretty good company considering Oregon and UCLA are both the current leaders in the two divisions of the conference.)
Washington will need to clean up its act if they expect to beat Utah because fumbling 5 times and losing 3 and being penalized 12 times for 108 yards, like they did against a terrible Cal team, won’t get it done against a steadily improving Utah team whose coach Kyle Whittingham is simply one of the best in the league. Washington will need to bring it’s “A” game in this one in order to complete their home slate on a positive note. The Huskies have only lost one game (to USC) playing in their home away from home, The Clink. A win this week will also make the Huskies bowl eligible and that in itself is the most important thing for this program.
Washington would do well to win the rushing game by having Bishop Sankey continue his fine season by rushing over 100 yards himself at the same time as holding White to under 100. Sankey busted loose for 189 yards against Cal and was clearly one of the stars of a terribly played football game last Saturday in Berkley. He was a darting runner in that one and if he can continues his efforts he will surely finish over a 1000 yards on the season. Most importantly though is for Washington get themselves ready to play a smash-mouth contest against a Utah team that features one of the better defenses in the league. The Utes defense is led by a real star player whose name is actually Star. Star Lotulelei, might be the first Pac-12 player drafted next spring in the NFL draft. He is simply a beast inside on their defense and will make running the ball very difficult all by himself. The Utah front on defense might be the best the Huskies have faced since they played LSU.
So don’t let the Utah record of 4 wins and 5 losses fool you. This is liable to be the hardest physical battle of the season and the Huskies will have to play one of their toughest and cleanest games in order to win it. This will surely be a measuring stick for just how far this program has come this season and a win here could position them for a great finish to an up and down campaign. This one will be a black and blue, hit you in the mouth and stomp on your neck affair. My kind of game. Go dawgs.