Utah wasn’t supposed to win this game. It is November (although that curse was killed last year). Washington was coming off of bye, where Chris Peterson was undefeated with like a 20293-0 record (that seems high). Washington was coming off of a loss, where Coach Pete was something like 345-0 since being at Washington (perhaps a bit high again). Washington almost had a perfect record when leading at the half, as they went in with a 14-13 lead over the Utes. Utah has only one win against UW going into today, in program history, and Coach Peterson owned Coach Whittingham since his Boise days. On top of all that, the offensive line struggled to open the game, three and outs all over for the Utes, Jacob Eason, UW’s QB, was dealing and the defensive front couldn’t get any pressure on his, which resulted in a 14-3 deficit for the Utes to dig out of. Oh, and the senior captain QB for the Utes, Tyler Huntley, still is noticeably hobbled. And what did Utah do? They showed they are a championship level team by overcoming all of that and beating UW by a score of 33-28.
Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss led this offense against the Huskies, and the two seniors really carried this group to the win. Huntley finished the day with 284 yards on 19-of-24 passing and one touchdown. In the third and fourth quarter, on big third downs, Huntley time and again hit his guys downfield to keep the chains moving, and to flip the field. Whether it was Jaylen Dixon (72 yards on 2 catches with a long of 41), Bryan Thompson ( 2 catches for 60 yards and a long of 41), Moss with 41 yardages and a touchdown, Demari Simpkins with 31 yards on 4 catches, Samson Nacua with 1 huge 28 yard catch, or Solomon Enis with 24 yards, including one giant chain mover. Huntley continues to cement himself into Utah’s legacy. It was tough sledding for Moss, but he was able to start beating up the Huskies defense for a total of 100 yards on 27 carries. He kept the Huskies honest, and boy, were they focused on slowing him down. The Utes only had 115 yards on the ground today, and boy did they need them. The Utes ended with 399 total yards of offense on the day, and once they figured out the Huskies game plan, they started to get the show moving.
And how about that defense, once they really settled in? They only gave up 53 yards on the ground. Against UW, that is huge. The Huskies were without a couple major wideouts, and they had to find some other dudes to beat the Utes, which they did at times with stud tight end Hunter Bryant, who had 105 yards through the air and two touchdowns. As for Eason, the Utes really got after him in the second half and got him off his spots, which lead to a couple major turnovers. First, Julian Blackmon read the play the whole way and erased a scoring opportunities for the Huskies with an interception. And with the play of the game, arguably, Jaylon Johnson swung all of the momentum of the game with a major pick-six that brought the Utes to within 2 points at 21-19. From there, the defense absolutely locked down (outside of that last touchdown that UW got), and they kept getting the ball back to the offense, and they scored 20 unanswered and put the game away. Utah held UW to only 369 yards on the game.
What a win! The Utes now move to 8-1 and 5-1 in conference play, with a bye coming this next week. After that the Utes are home to UCLA, on the road to Arizona, and at home to wrap the regular season against Colorado. Now the team can regroup, heal up (looking at you QB1), and look to finish this season out strong.
Go Utes. Go Ducks.