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Grading Utah’s Loss to Washington

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NCAA Football: Washington at Utah Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Utes fell just short against the #4 Washington Huskies on Saturday in a game that featured many swings in momentum and came down to Utah’s final drive. Despite Washington being one of the top programs in the country, it is still a tough loss to take. That being said, Utah continues to control their destiny in the Pac-12 south with three games remaining.

Offense

Joe Williams had another 100+ yard performance, rushing for 172 yards and a touchdown. It is his third straight game over 150 yards rushing since returning to the team. Troy Williams struggled against Washington’s excellent secondary in the first half, but was much better in the second half finishing 14-31 for 163 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was good to see Tim Patrick looking healthier, making several big catches throughout the game against a lockdown corner in Sidney Jones.

Utah scored the second most points of any of Washington’s opponents so far this year, and exceeded what Washington’s opponents average (14.6 ppg). In addition there were no turnovers. The offensive line was penalized for for some false starts which put the team in a hole on a few drives, but overall the offense was in a position to tie the game at the end, they just couldn’t make a final play.

Grade: B+

Defense

After the Huskies jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead, the defense settled in and held Washington to their lowest point total this season. The defense was able to get some pressure on Browning with 2 sacks and was able to provide pressure on the quarterback throughout the game.

Chase Hansen had a good game, leading Utah in in tackles and picking off a Browning pass for the game’s lone turnover. Utah held the Huskies to their lowest point total of the season and held Browning to only 12 completions and 186 yards passing, well below his average. The defensive front got pushed around a little in the third quarter, allowing Washington’s Myles Gaskin to gash them for chunk yardage. It wan’t a perfect game by the defense, but they only allowed 24 points to a very good Washington offense and held UW to their worst offensive performance of the season.

Grade: B+

Special Teams

Mitch Wishnowsky continued to display his mastery at punting the ball, with 6 punts for 322 yards, averaging 53.7 yards per punt and pinning Washington inside the 20 yard line 4 times. Andy Phillips was 1-1 on field goals, making his only attempt on a rushed attempt to beat the clock before the half. Kyle Fulks had a good 34 yard kick return late in the game.

The play everyone will remember is Wishnowsky’s final punt from his own endzone that Washington’s Dante Pettis returned 58 yards for a touchdown. There were three blocks in the back that were not called on the return and it first punt return touchdown against Utah since 2009. Unfortunately it was a game winner.

Grade: A-

Overall Utah played pretty well against a top 5 team. There was some questionable play calling and officiating, but Utah held their own, and went toe to toe with Washington. The final score is disappointing, but the way Utah battled was encouraging heading into the final stretch of the season. Utah gets a bye week to recover and get some injured players back, before finishing up the season with three must win games to stay in contention for the south.