The Utes had the opportunity to put on a show on the big stage in the matchup versus the Huskies but unfortunately fell literally just short of a victory. Here are three things we learned about Utah in the loss to the Washington Huskies.
1. Passing game
It could be that this problem stems from the numerous injuries that are plaguing the Utes or it could be that the Utah offense just cannot find its stability through the air. On the last play of the game, the Utes took a shot for the end zone instead of just striving for the first down. This left many scratching their heads wondering what exactly made Utah choose that play. On the surface the Utes offense looks cleaner through the air this season but if we look to the numbers comparing last season to this season the passing game is has not changed much. It is not an apples to apples comparison but through 12 games Travis Wilson had a 62 percent completion rating last season, while Troy Williams has completed 55 percent of passes in nine games so far this season. Wilson passed for a total of 2,095 yards last season while Williams is on pass to just surpass that with a total of 1,888 yards so far this season. On a positive note Williams has been able to clean up the interception problem we saw throughout the first few games of the season. The quarterback currently has five total and has only has had one take away over the last six games.
2. The Utes can and will fight
Despite the outcome the Utes proved that they are more than capable of hanging with the top teams in the country this season. Throughout most of the first quarter both teams struggled to get anything going on offense but with two minutes left the Huskies found a way to make it happen and were the first on the board with a touchdown. Within the first five minutes of the second quarter, Washington once again marched down the field and with a Jake Browning pass completion to John Ross in the end zone was up 14-0. It was at this moment that Ute fans started to hang their heads and many thought the Huskies might run away with the game. During the Huskies’ next possession a Chase Hansen interception completely flipped the script and led the Utes to 17-point rally to take the lead at 17-14. The two teams would go on to be tied at 24 points for the majority of the fourth quarter. If we are looking for the primary Utah mistake and really the game changer it was a punt return touchdown for the Huskies with three minutes left in the game. Overall the Utes fought hard and came up just short of winning a game against the undefeated Huskies.
3. Defense playing complete
After the first quarter, the Utah defense performed just the way any team would want against a top five team. The Utes pressured Washington to its worst performance on offense of the season. The Huskies’ quarterback, Jake Browning, had one of his toughest games of the season by completing only 60 percent of his passes and throwing for 186 yards. Utah’s Chase Hansen came up huge in the second quarter with a 30-yard return on his second interception of the season to swing the momentum in Utah’s favor. The Utes defense also put up two sacks and forced a fumble that the Huskie’s were able to maintain.
Overall the Utes played a great game and showed that they are not going away this season without a fight. With a BYE week under their belt, what can the Utes do to beat ASU?