Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 12 Las Vegas Bowl

UW Football Faces Oregon and Utah in Back-to-Back Weeks

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Thought Oregon was Difficult? Well, this weekend the UW football team faces off against the 9th-ranked Utah Utes. Per Oddshark, the Utes are two-point road favorites.

What Makes Utah so Good?

Dominant Defense

In addition to the tweet above, per sports-reference.com, Utah’s defense ranks:

  • Fourth in points (10.1 points-per-game allowed)
  • 11th in passing (174.6 yards-per-game allowed)

Against their Pac-12 competition, Utah is crushing offenses. In their last four games, Utah’s defense was exceptional:

  • Washington State – 13 points
  • Oregon State – 7 points
  • Arizona State – 3 points
  • Cal – 0 points

Utah’s defense is destructive, powerful and suffocates opposing offenses. The UW football program will be tested.

An Offense to Match

Somehow, the Utah Utes have a fantastic offense as well. Impressively, they’ve scored at least 30 points in six of their eight games. Tyler Huntley’s 10-to-1 touchdown-to-interception rate perfectly complements Utah’s dominant defense.

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Additionally, Zack Moss is the perfect game-closing running back. His 6.6 yards-per-carry (on 728 total yards) and 10 touchdowns display this. Moss is the second-best running back in the Pac-12 and Utah’s offense is lucky to have him.

How UW Football can Reign

As noted above, Utah has a dominant defense that destroys its opponents. Moreover, they have an offense that routinely scores at least 30 points. The Huskies have to bring their A-game in order to get a victory.

Convert Third and Fourth Downs

Currently, the UW football team ranks 106th in third-down success rate. Against Oregon, this was detrimental. They converted just 3 of 13 third downs. Oregon came back from a 14-point deficit to win. If Chris Peterson wants a UW football win, he needs to create opportunities for success. Third-down play-calling may seem the most important. But, it’s the calls on first and second down that ultimately put a team in third-down success.

On top of that, the Huskies need to continue their fourth-down bravery. Last week, against Oregon, their fourth-down conversions were key to offensive success. Even though the last one didn’t work out, Washington needs to keep going for it (process-over-results).

Continue to Play Young Wide Receivers

As easy as it is to play the seniors, UW football’s been better with young players. Playing the young, talented wide receivers like Puka Nacua is a big component of success. In order to win, Chris Peterson needs to prioritize talent over age.

Pass-Pass-Pass

Last week, Jacob Eason and company displayed offensive effectiveness against a stout Oregon team. They broke Oregon’s elite defense. Granted, they didn’t win the game, but they still showed life. Eason needs to lead this team to another offensive performance. Utah’s dominant line won’t give any room to Washington’s running backs. So, it’s ultimately up to Jacob Eason to step up.

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