It’s a big Pac-12 game at Rice-Eccles Stadium tonight, as Utah takes on Washington in the conference opener for both teams. Both teams have struggled in similar fashion this year, and Utah can launch themselves to the top of the Pac-12 South win a win over the Huskies. Here are some keys for them to do just that.
Offensive line must step up
We’re just beating a dead horse at this point, but the offensive line will be huge if Utah is going to win or lose this game. The big guys need to protect Tyler Huntley so he can have a clean pocket to make accurate throws down the field. Utah has the dudes on the outside that can make plays, Huntley just needs time to find them. Also, they need to get some push and allow the running backs to wear down Washington. Washington is stout on defense, and if they’re in the backfield then Utah’s going to stall out all game long.
Take care of 3rd down
This is about as basic as it gets, but Utah needs to extend drives on 3rd down, especially 3rd and medium/short. It Utah can’t keep the chains moving it will be an issue, because Washington can just keep coming at you on defense. Same thing on the other side of the ball, especially on 3rd and long. Utah allowed UW to wiggle out of plenty of 3rd and longs last season, and they can’t have that happen again. The Utes need to get off the field and to control the ball as best they can.
Don’t make the big mistake
The last couple of seasons the Utes have lost based off of a big mistake, and have been in each game with a chance to win. At some point in this game, one of the two teams are going to make the big mistake that swings momentum and possibly the outcome of the game, that can’t be Utah. The margin of error in a game like this is razor thin, so they need to be as clean as possible, and do their best to force Washington into that poor decision, and hopefully it’s Jake Browning. If Utah’s defense can get pressure on Browning, that will swing things heavily into Utah’s favor.
The game kicks at 8pm, so it’s #Pac12AfterDark, but it should be a lot of fun, as it usually is in the black out game. Utah can take a huge step forward if they get the win.