Washington vs. Utah prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the Huskies and Utes.
When: Saturday, Oct. 29 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT
TV Broadcast: FS1
Washington (7-0) is looking like a legitimate College Football Playoff contender. It’s ranked No 4 in the AP Top 25, and, save Arizona, has demolished its opponents so far. The Huskies have carried their early dominance into their conference schedule. Wins over Stanford, Oregon and Oregon State have set them up nicely for a shot to finish the season with a zero in the loss column. The most recent win against the Beavers saw Washington drop 41 points and allow only 17. This is a complete team.
To Kyle Whittingham’s credit, he’s done a great job coaching this football team. Utah (7-1) started out with four consecutive wins. After they dropped a game on the road to Cal on Oct. 1, the Utes responded with three straight victories over Arizona, Oregon State and UCLA. Utah went on the road and took down the Bruins this past weekend, 52-45.
Washington owns the all-time series with Utah, 8-1. But that lone win for the Utes came last year in Seattle, 34-23.
What To Know About Washington
Jake Browning has evolved this season. He’s become one of the most accurate, exciting quarterbacks in the game. And he’s only a sophomore. Against Oregon State, Browning completed 14-of-28 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns. But on the season, he’s connected on 68.6 percent of his passes for 1,709 yards and 26 touchdowns. He’s only been picked off twice, too. Of those three scoring passes against the Beavers, two went to Dante Pettis, who finished with four catches for 112 yards. Aaron Fuller also reeled in a touchdown catch, which was one of three grabs for 49 yards. John Ross didn’t find the end zone, but he did finish with four receptions for 115 yards.
Oh, and the Huskies can run the ball, too. It’s not all about Browning and the aerial attack. Myles Gaskin toted the rock for 128 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Browning did tack on a rushing touchdown of his own, though.
And we all know how stout the defense is. Washington ranks No. 15 in total defense with 318.6 yards allowed per game. The Huskies sit at No. 6 in scoring defense also, having given up 14.6 points per game.
What to Know About Utah
First thing’s first … congratulations to Joe Williams. The Utah running back retired earlier this season due to injuries but has since returned to the playing field. Against UCLA, Williams burst for 332 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries — incredible. He also did that against a Bruins defense that has been solid against the run this season.
Quarterback Troy Williams also ran for 13 yards and a touchdown, but he wasn’t so crisp through the air. Williams completed 12-of-24 passes for 179 yards and an interception. He also fumbled the ball twice. Siaosi Wilson finished with four catches for 71 yards, and Cory Butler-Byrd ended up with five grabs for 67 yards.
Offense: Washington – Browning has been a top-three quarterback this season. With Gaskin, Pettis and Ross as his weapons, the Huskies have a clear advantage.
Defense: Washington – This isn’t even close. The Huskies are one of the best defensive teams in the nation, allowing a scant 14.6 points per game.
Special Teams: Utah – Andy Phillips has hit on 13-of-16 field goals. He’s 5-of-7 from beyond 40 yards out.
Coaching: Washington – Chris Petersen is an absolute genius.
Matchup To Watch
Jake Browning vs. Utah defense
You might as well throw the entire Utah roster out onto the field. Even then, the smart money would be on Browning. If the Utes can’t get pressure on him or hands in his face, they’ll find themselves in trouble. Browning can move a little bit, too. Even if he’s flushed from the pocket, he keeps his eyes down the field and can deliver accurate balls on the run. That means Utah — aside from collapsing the pocket — will have to stick to its assignments and force Browning to throw into tight windows.
Spread: Washington -10
Washington vs. Utah Prediction
Yeah, totally not buying the 52-point over/under here. Washington is going to account for more than half of that. Browning will throw for at least 250 yards, and he’ll toss three touchdowns. Gaskin will pick up some carries and rush for a touchdown or two. The Huskies are going to lead this game from start to finish, and it won’t ever be close. Utah will put up a few points, but it’ll be a tough day for the Utes offensively. Washington stays unbeaten with this one.
Washington vs. Utah Score Prediction: Washington 42, Utah 16