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Opponent Preview: Washington’s Defense

NCAA Football: Arizona at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

​​Death, taxes, and Washington football having a stout defense are the only things in life that are certain, and in Jimmy Lake’s first year, it appears we can continue to expect more of the same.

​Led by sophomore linebacker, Edefuan Ulofoshio (6’0”, 230 lbs.), the Huskies have recorded 110 tackles on the season with Ulofoshio accounting for 15, with 14 of those being solo tackles, along with an 11 yard sack, and a forced fumble with a recovery. The Bishop Gorman high school product is having a breakout season after starting in just the final three games last season and winning the Husky Fever 12th man of the Year Award.

​Having recorded seven sacks through just two games (UCLA leads the conference with ten, with USC right behind with eight, though both teams have the luxury of playing three games so far this season), Washington has demonstrated a knack for getting the the quarterback better than any team in the conference, with Zion Tupuloa-Fetui (6’3”, 280 lbs.) amassing four on his own. Not only does the sophomore linebacker lead the conference in sacks, he single handedly has more sacks to his name than the entire defensive units for eight other PAC-12 schools have mustered during this belated season. Considering the prime time kickoff on ABC and Utah’s struggles along the offensive line last week, Tupuola-Fetui could be a one-man wrecking ball that decimates the Utes in front of a national audience.

​Downfield, senior defensive back Elijah Molden has wasted no time padding his NFL-worthy resume. Coming off a break-out season where he accounted for four interceptions and three forced fumbles, Molden has yet to record a turnover, but is the team’s second leading tackler with 10 tackles, nine of which have been unassisted. Joining him are sophomores Kyler Gordon (6’0”, 195 lbs.) and Asa Turner (6’3”, 200 lbs.) who have combined for an additional nine solo tackles, with Turner reeling in the Huskies lone INT of the season, coming in week one against Oregon State.

​Utah’s offense struggled to find their footing in week one, and unless their were drastic improvements during practice this week, it could be an incredibly tough week for a Utes team looking to rebound in their quest to three-peat for the division crown.