Utah vs. Washington: Everything You Need To Know

After news broke that Utah's game with Arizona State was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols, the Pac-12 rebounded and now Utah will travel north to face Washington on Saturday night
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Physicality will be expected as Utah looks for its first win of the season against undefeated Washington on Saturday night in Seattle. 

Here's everything you need to know ahead of kickoff...

Utah (0-1) at Washington (2-0)

When: Saturday, Nov. 28 — 5:44 p.m. MST

Where: Husky Stadium, Seattle, Washington

Nov 2, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Utah Utes quarterback Jason Shelley (15) celebrates the win over the Washington Huskies at Husky Stadium.

Broadcast Information
TV: ABC
Play-By-Play: Beth Mowins
Analyst: Kirk Morrison
Sideline Reporter: Stormy Buonantony

Radio: KALL ESPN 700 AM
Play-By-Play: Bill Riley
Analyst: Scott Mitchell

Sirius XM: Channel 380 
Internet: 970

Betting Line: Utah (+7) — Over/Under = 47.5

Nov 2, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Utah Utes running back Zack Moss (2) dives into the end zone for a touchdown as Washington Huskies defensive back Elijah Molden (left) and linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio (right) try to stop him during the second quarter at Husky Stadium.

Series History
12-2 Washington / Utah was on a four-game losing streak entering last season's game before winning 33-28. Of those past five games, all but one of those has been decided with in a single-score. Washington won 10-3 in the 2018 Pac-12 championship game.

Last year, Utah came from behind to score 21 straight points in the second half and stun Washington in Seattle. After trailing 21-13 midway through the third quarter, the Utes rallied to score on three of their next four possessions for the 33-21 lead. Mika Tafua recovered a fumble for the Utes as Elijah Molden and Trent McDuffie did the same for the Huskies.

Nov 21, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes linebacker Nephi Sewell (29) picks up the fumble and runs to the end zone against the USC Trojans at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Utah Storyline
Coming off back-to-back Pac-12 south division titles, Utah starting the season 0-2 was not expected for the 2020 season. How do the Utes respond after their loss to No. 19 USC last weekend and do they make that big jump from the first to the second game of the season?

Utah must find a way to win the battle in the trenches and establish the passing game early and often. Last week, the Utes struggled mightily in those scenarios as the quarterbacks combined to throw three interceptions and complete 55.9% of their passes. They were consistently under pressure as USC's defensive line overwhelmed the Utes.

Nov 21, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes wide receiver Samson Nacua (45) pushes into the end zone while being held by USC Trojans safety Isaiah Pola-Mao (21) during the second quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Because of those struggles in the trenches, the passing game really suffered. When given time, quarterback Jake Bentley got into a good rhythm and it resulted in the Utes touchdown. But when under duress, his throws got a tad erratic and what came next was a lot of three-and-outs. 

Expect Washington to load the box and force the Utes to beat them through the air, and to stick with that game plan until Bentley proves he can do something about it. Establishing the passing offense early will force Washington to spread out and the Utes running game will open up.

Washington Storyline
Can the Huskies get the victory and take over first place in the Pac-12 north division? And can they do so playing against what's sure to be their toughest test to date?

Nov 21, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Dylan Morris (9) throws a pass against the Arizona Wildcats during the second quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium.

The Huskies have struggled through the air, becoming a dominant running team in the process. It's expected that the Utes will load the box and force Washington quarterback Dylan Morris to beat them through the air. 

Utah is extremely young and inexperienced in the secondary so Morris must be willing to test that unit throwing the ball down field. It'll be an advantage for the Utes if Morris consistently checks the ball but if Washington can force the ball downfield, it'll open up the running game.

With Oregon being shocked by 41-38 by Oregon State last Friday night, it leaves the Huskies as the only undefeated team in the north and in control of their own destiny. Utah will be riled up for this one, so the Huskies must match that physicality and intensity.

Senior Orlando Umana returns as a starter at center to anchor the offensive line for the 2020 college football season.

Utah Players To Watch: Bryan Thompson, WR, JR; Orlando Umana, C, SR; Jake Bentley, QB, SR; Nephi Sewell, LB, JR

Washington Player To Watch: Dylan Morris, QB, FR; Cade Otton, TE, JR; Zion Tupuola-Fetui, OLB, SO; Elijah Molden, DB, SR

After a phenomenal fall camp, Utah wide receiver Bryan Thompson is ready to be the breakout star of the season

Matchup To Watch: Utah Passing Offense vs. Washington Passing Defense

Weather Forecast: 34 degrees with intermittent clouds at kickoff. Five percent chance of rain with winds expected at 5 mph from the east southeast.

Oct 5, 2019; Stanford, CA, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Elijah Molden (3) stands on the field during the third quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium.

Prediction: It may not officially be a rivalry game but the games between the Utes and Huskies have been jam-packed with action and always coming down to the wire. Four of their past five meetings, including one in the 2018 Pac-12 championship game, have been decided by one score or less. Unfortunately for Utah, they've lost four of those five battles, ending their four-game losing streak with a 33-28 win last season.

In last week's loss to USC, the Utes offensive line was atrocious and it led to USC controlling the line of scrimmage. Utah cannot have that happen again as the Huskies have been known for their success in the trenches.

Nov 21, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes quarterback Jake Bentley (8) is tackled by USC Trojans linebacker Hunter Echols (31) while running up the field during the second half at Rice-Eccles Stadium. USC Trojans won 33-17.

This is going to be a close game as I believe Utah makes a massive jump from its first to its second game, however I don't know if it'll be enough to take down a Washington team playing well.

Utah finds more success on offense as the offensive line holds it own, and the defense continues to see improvement. But Washington is playing better right now and that eventually leads to the win at home. Washington uses a big third quarter and then forces a Jake Bentley interception in the fourth quarter to hold on for the win.

Prediction: Washington 30 — Utah 24

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