Washington has yet to lose to Utah (7-0), but the Utes have creamed their past two opponents (Cal, WSU) and still have a chance to become bowl eligible.
GAME: Utah (4-5 overall, 2-4 Pac-12) at Washington (5-4 overall, 3-2 Pac-12). WHEN: Saturday, 7:30 p.m., CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 8th (Washington leads 7-0). COACHES: Kyle Whittingham, Utah; Steve Sarkisian, Washington. RANKINGS: Neither ranked. LINE: Utah by 1½. TV: Pac-12 Networks. RADIO: KJR-950 AM, 102.9 FM.
Needing one win in their final three games to become bowl eligible, the Washington Huskies play their final home game of the season Saturday against the suddenly resurgent University of Utah Utes, who made a mockery of the Washington State football program last Saturday with a 49-6 victory that could have been far worse for the Cougars.
“It was probably the best offensive production of the season and our most complete game offensively,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. “I thought we did some good things. We ran the ball efficiently. We threw the ball very efficiently, and took care of the football. I thought that it was another positive step for us. We still have a lot of deficiencies and still have a lot of things to work on, but it was a good week for us.”
The way the Utes opened the season, it looked like they would finish as conference dregs. Utah lost five of its first seven, but have now won two in a row. A week before beating Washington State, Utah crushed California 49-27. The Huskies barely eked out a 21-13 win over the Bears last Saturday.
The most glaring hole in Utah’s portfolio: no road wins (0-4).
“The Huskies have played well at home,” said Whittingham. “They beat two top-10 teams (Stanford, Oregon State) at their place this year. It will be another good test for us.”
During Whittingham’s weekly news conference, the Washington player he cited most often was TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who had a monster game at California with eight catches for 154 yards and a touchdown.
“He’s a tremendous receiving tight end,” said Whittingham. “No one has really had a great answer for him. We have some players who we hope will be decent matchups. Trevor Reilly is 6-foot-5 so that might be a decent match there. Brian Blechen is 6-foot-2-plus, so we’ve got some guys with size in the back and at linebacker.
“Seferian-Jenkins is a guy who’s got a knack — even when he’s not open, they throw it up and his basketball background comes into play with his receiving ability, particularly in traffic, he’s goes up and gets the ball.”
Three Utes have come up big in the past two weeks, freshman quarterback Travis Wilson, running back John White and kick returner Reggie Dunn.
Wilson, the third player to start at quarterback for the Utes this season, didn’t throw for many yards against the Cougars (171), but he completed 17 of 21 passes, two for touchdowns. White scored three touchdowns, two rushing, one receiving, against the Cougars and finished with 101 yards.
“We could have had 600 yards of offense (against Washington State),” said Whittingham. “I put the brakes on the offense about midway through the third, otherwise we would have had even more impressive totals.”
Dunn has been the Pac-12’s special teams Player of the Week two weeks in a row. He has three 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns in the past three weeks, including a 100-yarder against the Cougars. Dunn enters the Washington game averaging 55 yards on kickoff returns.
“Whether they (the Huskies) kick to him or not, I can’t say for sure,” said Whittingham, “but they certainly have to think twice about it. It’s something you have to take into consideration. We’ve got to get the ball in his hands a little bit more on offense as well.”
While Washington generally regards injury information as top-secret classified material, coach Steve Sarkisian said this week that none of the players who sustained injuries in the California game will miss time against the Utes. That includes CB Desmond Trufant, who sat out the second half against Cal with a hamstring injury.
“We’re a little banged up, we’re a little bit beat up,” said Sarkisian.
This will be Washington’s final home game at CenturyLink Field before the UW returns to remodeled Husky Stadium in 2013.
SERIES: Dates to Sept. 26, 1931, when Washington won 7-6 at Husky Stadium. Washington has won all seven meetings, including 31-14 last year in Salt Lake City, UW’s last road win before defeating California Saturday. In last year’s game, Keith Price threw TD passes to Kasen Williams and Jermaine Kearse, and Chris Polk rushed for 189 yards. Saturday’s game will be Utah’s first in Seattle since 1979.
UW HEAD COACH: Steve Sarkisian (24-23-0) is in his fourth season. After a 5-7 record in 2009, Sarkisian guided the Huskies to a 7-6 record in 2010, which ended with a 19-7 victory over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. That marked Washington’s first postseason game since the 2002 Sun Bowl. Sarkisian coached the Huskies to another 7-6 record in 2011, including a berth opposite Baylor in the Alamo Bowl. Prior to joining the Huskies, Sarkisian served as a USC assistant under Pete Carroll (2001-03, 2005-08). He also worked as an Oakland Raiders assistant in 2004. Sarkisian played quarterback at Brigham Young University and later played in the Canadian Football League.
UW STATS / NOTES
HUSKIES OFFENSIVE LEADERS
|Keith Price||9||297||177||1765||9 /10||112.8|
HUSKIES DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Parker 53, Timu 52, Glenn 51, Thompson 51|
|Sacks||Hudson 3.5, Shirley 2.5, Feeney 2.0|
|Interceptions||Peters 3, Glenn 2, Thompson 2|
|Passes Defensed||Peters 9, Trufant 5, Watson 5|
|Forced Fumbles||Parker 3, Feeney, Fuimaono, Shirley 1|
|Fumbles Recovered||Glenn 2, Tutogi, Hudson, Shamberger 1|
Pac-12 Standings / North
|Oregon||9-0||6-0||Saturday at Cal, 7:30 p.m., ESPN|
|Oregon St.||7-1||5-1||Saturday at Stanford, 12 p.m., FOX|
|Stanford||7-2||5-1||Stanford vs. OSU, 12 p.m., FOX|
|Washington||5-4||3-3||Saturday vs. Utah, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12|
|California||3-7||2-5||Saturday vs. Oregon, 7:30 p.m., ESPN|
|WSU||2-7||0-6||Saturday vs. UCLA, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2|
Pac-12 Standings / South
|UCLA||7-2||4-2||Saturday at WSU, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2|
|USC||6-3||4-3||Saturday vs. ASU, 12 p.m., Pac-12|
|ASU||5-4||3-3||Saturday at USC, 12 p.m., Pac-12|
|Arizona||5-4||2-4||Saturday vs. Colorado, 10:30 a.m., FX|
|Utah||4-5||2-4||Saturday at UW, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12|
|Colorado||1-8||1-5||Saturday at Arizona, 10:30 a.m., FX|
UTAH NOTES: The Utes have wins over Northern California (41-0), Brigham Young (24-21), California (49-27) and Washington State (49-6), and lost to Utah State (27-20), Arizona State (37-7), USC (38-28), UCLA (21-14) and Oregon State (21-14) . . . Utah ranks 7th in the conference in scoring offense (26.6), 3rd in scoring defense (22.0), 11th in total offense (324.4), third in total defense (336.3), 9th in rushing offense (125.3), 3rd in rushing defense (105.2), 11th in pass offense (199.1), 3rd in pass defense (231.1) and 7th in pass efficiency (132.6) . . . John White is Utah’s leading rusher at 77.0 yards per game (five touchdowns). White had 101 yards and two touchdowns against Washington State last week . . . Travis Wilson ranks 12th in the conference in passing yards per game (90.8) . . . There are no players with state of Washington connections on the Utah roster.
UTAH HEAD COACH: Kyle Whittingham, the 2008 National Coach of the Year, is in his eighth season. A graduate of Brigham Young University, Whittingham had three seasons (2008-10) with 10 or more wins and has coached the Utes in eight bowl games. He began coaching at Utah in 1994 (defensive line) and had his coaching start at BYU as a graduate assistant in 1985.
COMING UP: The Huskies have two more regular-season games, at Colorado Saturday and at Washington State Nov. 23.
University of Washington 2012 Schedule/Results
|Date||Opponent||UW Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|9/1/12||vs. SD State||—||—||W||21-12||1-0|
|9/15/12||vs. Port. State||—||—||W||52-13||2-1|
UW 21, San Diego State 12 (Sept. 1): Keith Price completed 25 of 35 passes for 222 yards and an eight-yard TD to Kasen Williams, and Will Shamburger returned a fumble 44 yards to a touchdown as Washington defeated San Diego State in front of 53,742 at CenturyLink Field. The UW defense, maligned throughout the 2011 season, gave up 199 rushing yards but just 128 passing yards, recovered two fumbles, had three sacks and an interception.
LSU 41, Washington 3 (Sept. 8): No. 3 LSU sacked Keith Price four times, hit him an additional dozen times and romped easily to victory over Washington in the Huskies’ first trip to the Southeastern Conference since 1983. LSU outgained Washington 437 yards to 170 and held Price to 157 passing yards with one interception.
UW 52, Portland State 13 (Sept. 15): Keith Price threw three touchdown passes in the first 23 minutes, Bishop Sankey ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns, Shaq Thompson blocked a field goal that Tre Watson returned 79 yards for a touchdown, and the Huskies massacred the Vikings at CenturyLink Field. It marked the Huskies’ biggest win since a 53-3 win over Idaho in 2001.
UW 17, Stanford 13 (Sept. 27): Keith Price threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Kasen Williams late in the fourth quarter and Desmond Trufant made a game-sealing interception as Washington shocked No. 8 Stanford at CenturyLink Field. One year after UW lost to Stanford by 44 points and a week after the Cardinal defeated national title contender USC, Washington used a stifling defense to upset Stanford, holding the Cardinal to just 235 yards and no offensive touchdowns. Bishop Sankey ran for 144 yards for UW and scored on a 61-yard run on the last play of the third quarter, sparking Washington’s stagnant offense.
Oregon 52, UW 21 (Oct. 6): Oregon freshman Marcus Mariota passed for four touchdowns and the No. 2 Ducks recorded their ninth consecutive victory over UW in Eugene. The 23-ranked Huskies aided the Oregon cause with a series of mistakes, including three personal fouls. Quarterback Keith Price completed 19 of 31 for 145 yards and two interceptions. Bishop Sankey scored on a pair of short runs and Eric Wilson added a TD with 32 seconds to play.
USC 24, UW 14 (Oct. 13): Anthony Brown blocked a punt and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown, Jawanza Starling forced a key fourth-quarter fumble, and No. 11 USC used big plays from its defense and special teams to overcome an inconsistent offense. The Huskies held Trojans (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) scoreless in the second half but got help from a defense that sacked Washington QB Keith Price five times and forced four turnovers to give USC its third straight win. The Huskies points were on a 17-yard TD pass from Price to Kasen Williams and a two-yard pass from Price to Austin-Seferian-Jenkins.
Arizona 52, UW 17 (Oct. 20): Matt Scott threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns, Ka’Deem Carey ran for 172 yards and Arizona raced out of its bye week with a rout. The Wildcats had their way with Washington’s defense from the opening drive, eclipsing 500 total yards (533) for the sixth time this season. Washington (3-4, 1-3) had no chance against Arizona’s fast-paced offense. Quarterback Keith Price had another so-so game in the Huskies’ third straight loss. Price matched Scott with 256 yards passing, but his line didn’t look quite as good, needing 52 attempts to get there, and with two interceptions to offset his one touchdown.
UW 20, Oregon State 17 (Oct. 27): The Huskies stemmed a season spiraling downward and ended No. 7 Oregon State’s shot at the first 7-0 start in school history at CenturyLink Field. Bishop Sankey ran for 92 yards and two touchdowns, Travis Coons kicked a 30-yard field goal with 1:20 left and Washington took advantage of four interceptions from Oregon State’s Sean Mannion. OSU became the second AP Top 10 team to be upset by the Huskies at home this season. Washington knocked off then-No. 8 Stanford 17-13 in late September. Keith Price, who committed 10 turnovers in the previous three games, started Washington’s decisive drive hitting tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins for 20 yards, just his third catch of the night. On third-and-7, Kasen Williams made a juggling catch along the sideline for 19 yards and an additional 15 yards was tacked on for a personal foul against Oregon State to move the ball to the Beavers’ 18 to set up Coons’ game-winner.
UW 21, California 13 (Nov. 2): Bishop Sankey ran for 189 yards and two touchdowns and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught eight passes for 152 yards and a touchdown, which snapped the Huskies’ six-game road losing streak. The UW won despite four turnovers and 12 penalties for 108 yards.