Will it be Arizona State? Maybe BYU? Try Washington. The Huskies have rung in the Jimmy Lake era with back-to-back wins to open the season, and will have home field advantage for the third consecutive week when the host Utah in a primetime matchup on ABC this Saturday after ASU’s COVID woes have sidelined their program for the second consecutive week, forcing the PAC-12 to shift this week’s schedule.
Offensively, the Huskies are in a similar situation as the Utes, breaking in a new quarterback in freshman Dylan Morris (6’0”, 200 lbs.), while fielding a running back by committee approach with a trio of talented rushers, with a proven commodity at tight end to lead the receiving corps. The biggest difference between the two programs is through two games, Washington looks like a much more complete offensive unit.
Morris has been impressive in his first two starts, completing 29 of 49 pass attempts with two touchdowns (both coming last week against Arizona), including a 65 yard score off a shallow pass to sophomore and Provo, UT native Puka Nacua(6’1”, 210 lbs.) that demonstrated his patience in the pocket while checking off receivers. Morris has yet to see much pressure, being sacked just once so far this season, a stat that can be attributed to his mobility skills, though no one would confuse Morris as a running QB. Rushing just ten times for 21 yards with a long of seven yards, Morris is primarily a pocket passer who can utilize his feet to extend a play or bail out of broken coverage, and likely won’t be utilized in many if any designed runs outside of short trips in the red zone.
On the ground, seniors Sean McGrew (5’7”, 175 lbs.) and Kamari Pleasant (6’0”, 230 lbs.) are joined by sophomore Richard Newton (6’0”, 210 lbs.) as the primary ball carries for the Huskies, combining for 352 rushing yards on the season, with McGrew leading the pack in yardage, amassing 126 yards on 20 carries, as Newton leads the way in carries, taking 23 for 122 yards, showcasing just how evenly utilized the trio is. Each back has found the endzone twice, accounting for six of Washington’s nine touchdowns in 2020.
Washington’s bread and butter this season comes in the form a seasoned receiving corps, led by junior tight end, Cade Otton (6’5”, 240 lbs.). Reeling in eight catches for 104 yards and one of only two receiving touchdowns, on the season, Ottonhas emerged as the Huskies leading receiving option, with junior Terrell Bynum (6’1”, 190 lbs.) not far behind with five catches for 86 yards. Utah fans will likely be familiar with the younger Puka Nacua, younger brother of Utah’s own Samson Nacua, who has been an impressive option downfield for the Huskies through two seasons, with 84 yards off just three receptions so far in 2020.
Utah’s defense struggled against a talented USC squad to open the season, a game in which Utah’s young secondary was exposed by the Trojan’s incredibly talented receivers, and despite Washington’s impressive options downfield, they’re undoubtedly a step below USC, which could benefit a Utes defense attempting to find their footing in week two.