Washington (7-0, 4-0) at Utah (7-1, 4-1)
When: Saturday, October 29th 2016
Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT
Time: 3:30 ET | TV: FOX Sports 1
Pac-12 Division leaders will meet Saturday afternoon in Salt Lake City as the Utah Utes host the Washington Huskies. Utah is currently tied with Colorado in the South Division at 4-1 after running off three straight wins since a loss at California on October 1st. Senior running back Joe Williams decided to retire from football after the second game of the season, but with the rash of injuries in the backfield, Williams was asked to come back by offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson. Williams has gained 511 yards in the last two games including 332 last week in UCLA to go along with his four touchdowns. Junior quarterback Troy Williams has accounted for 12 touchdowns (seven passing, five rushing) while passing for 1,725 yards. Williams began his college career at Washington and played in five games (one start) in 2014 but wasn’t a recruit of current coach Chris Petersen and transferred after the season to a junior college before performing well enough to catch Utah’s attention and then win the starting job. The defense, which leads the nation with 22 takeaways, will be missing injured junior free safety Marcus Williams (three interceptions, two fumble recoveries). Senior cornerback Brian Allen (team-best four interceptions), sophomore strong safety Chase Hansen (team-high 49 tackles) and senior defensive end Hunter Dimich (team-leading six sacks), round out the 37th ranked defense in the country.
The Huskies dream season is still alive with a combination of both offense and defense. They have won every game by 20 or more points except for a tough 35-28 win at Arizona in late September. They have topped 40 points in six of seven games this season and have won 10 straight games, tied with Western Michigan for the second-longest current streak behind top-ranked Alabama (20). Washington has gotten off to quick starts in games and have outscored their opponents 200-24 in the first half. Sophomore quarterback Jake Browning has joined the Heisman Trophy race due to his excellent play by throwing 26 touchdown passes against just two interceptions. Sophomore running back Myles Gaskin has rushed for a team-best 727 yards while junior wideouts John Ross (34 receptions for 486 yards and nine touchdowns) and Dante Pettis (27 for 457 with eight scores) could be the best WR-duo in all of football. Washington’s defense leads the nation with 12 fumble recoveries with junior inside linebacker Keishawn Bierria leading the nation with five. The Huskies’ defense allows just 14.6 points per game but will be without senior outside linebacker Joe Mathis (team-high five sacks) due to a foot injury.
Utah has a chance in this game only because they are playing at home. Washington is playing like a BCS Playoff team right now by blowing everyone out. Utah’s easiest win came in week 1 over Southern Utah. The Huskies finally have a defense that can take them to an elite level and I don’t see the Utah offense doing much of anything in this game. I’ll lay the points on the road.
Pick: Washington -10