Washington 31 ... at Utah 14

Posted Oct 1, 2011

Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Washington at Utah

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 5 - Washington at Utah

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Oct. 1 Washington 31 ... at Utah 14
CFN Analysis: For the Huskies to come up with a dominant win like this on the road was special. Keith Price is playing at a high level, coming up with a 22-of-30, 226-yard, three touchdown effort with a pick, while Chris Polk ran for 189 yards in a tough, workmanlike effort. The defense put the clamps down in the second half, while Price and Polk kept the chains moving and took control of the game. No, there might not be enough overall talent to beat both Stanford and Oregon, but there's a chance this could be the third best team in the Pac-12 if the pass defense can tighten up a bit. The offense is finding its groove at the right time, there aren't many mistakes, and the special teams are playing well. With a win over Colorado next week the Huskies could be 3-0 with a trip to Stanford to follow. With two weeks to rest up, the team should enjoy the praise that'll be heaped on them.

Utah couldn't have had a more disastrous start to the Pac-12 era. Not only is the team 0-2, it still has four road games to deal with after next week's game against Arizona State. The offense ranks dead last among all league teams with the passing game not clicking, and now it might be without leader Jordan Wynn. The franchise quarterback suffered a shoulder injury, and while Jon Hays stepped in and completed 10-of-16 passes for 156 yards and a score, the offense couldn't keep up the pace in the second half. The defense isn't playing up to snuff so far with the front line needing to get into the backfield far more and the secondary needing tighten up on the dink and dinks.

(AP) SALT LAKE CITY -- Keith Price threw three touchdown passes, Chris Polk rushed for 189 yards to surpass 3,000 in his career and Washington cruised to a 31-14 victory over Utah on Saturday, spoiling the Utes' first Pac-12 home game.

The Huskies (4-1, 2-0) forced five turnovers by Utah (2-2, 0-2), including a fumble on the opening kickoff that Jamaal Kearse returned 18 yards for a touchdown.

Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn did not play in the second half due to an injury to his left (non-throwing) shoulder. He finished 12 of 17 for 149 yards with a touchdown and interception. Jon Hays, who had previously thrown one major-college pass, was intercepted on his second attempt Saturday. He fumbled in the fourth quarter before tossing a last-minute 4-yard TD pass to Dallin Rogers.

Price was 22 of 30 for 226 yards. He has 17 touchdown passes this season.

The Utes (2-2, 0-2) entered the game plus-nine in turnovers, but committed three in the first half, including the opening-kickoff fumble that gave the Huskies a 7-0 lead with just 9 seconds elapsed.

The Utes also turned the ball over twice in the red zone in the second quarter.

Wynn threw his second interception of the year, as Sean Parker made the grab at his own 4-yard line with 10:29 left in the quarter.

Six minutes later, Dres Anderson cut back and looked for the end zone after a pass from Wynn, but Desmond Trufant forced a fumble and recovered at the Huskies' 6-yard line.

Washington converted the second turnover into a 44-yard Erik Folk field goal that gave Washington a 10-7 halftime lead. That scoring drive kept going thanks to unsportsmanlike-conduct and pass-interference penalties against Utah.

It was all Washington in the second half as it scored 21 consecutive points.

The Huskies are off to their best start since 2006 but don't want to follow the script for that season, when they lost six straight to finish 5-7 overall.

They have a bye before facing the Pac-12's other new conference member in Colorado. Then comes a showdown at Stanford on Oct. 22 before home games against Arizona and Oregon.

Utah, meanwhile, may have to lower its expectations. The Utes had hoped to contend for the South Division title, but find themselves winless in conference play, with the meat of their schedule still to come.

They face South leader Arizona State at home next week. Even if they beat the Sun Devils, they'd probably need help along the way, though they avoid Oregon and Stanford in their inaugural season.

After a non-conference game at Pitt, Utah visits California.

Saturday's game was close early.

Wynn tied the score at 7-all with 6:59 left in the first quarter on a 16-yard TD pass to Anderson. It capped a 68-yard scoring drive in which Wynn was 4 of 4 for 66 yards, including a 36-yard sideline pass to DeVonte Christopher.

Utah's defense came up with big plays in the first half. Linebacker J.J. Williams intercepted Price at the Utah 34 on a short pass that was tipped.

Polk had only 44 yards on 12 first-half carries. His first 12 carries of the second half netted 109 yards.

Washington (3-1) at Utah (2-1) Oct. 1, 7:00, FSN

Here's The Deal … Washington is 6-0 all-time versus Utah. Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham is 6-0 coming out of a bye week. Something's got to give this Saturday night in Salt Lake City. The Huskies will arrive at Rice-Eccles Stadium with a little extra bounce in their step courtesy of last weekend's key 31-23 victory over North Division foe Cal. The program is adapting nicely to life after QB Jake Locker for third-year head Steve Sarkisian, who's no stranger to Utah dating back to his days as a player with BYU.

The Utes needed a Saturday off just to catch their breath. In Week 2, they had a potential game-tying field goal blocked at the end of regulation. And before the break, they annihilated the Cougars in Provo, 54-10, for a historic and emotional Holy War blowout in a rivalry game. The red-letter events will continue this weekend for Utah as it hosts a Pac-12 Conference game for the first time in school history.

Why Washington Might Win: The offense is soaring under Sarkisian. Keith Price has left no doubts that he's the right man to fill Locker's shoes, throwing a nation's-high 14 touchdown passes already. Just a sophomore, he's a budding star who's surrounded by one of the Pac-12's better supporting casts. RB Chris Polk is a horse who's almost halfway to galloping to his third consecutive 1,000-yard season. The receiving corps, once ruled by Jermaine Kearse, suddenly has myriad options. Veterans Devin Aguilar and James Johnson lead the team in receptions, and rookie TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins is already living up to his considerable hype. Utah will need to start getting more pressure in order to disrupt an improving Washington attack.

Why Utah Might Win: U-Dub can score, but can it stop anyone? The Huskies have had all kinds of problems, from allowing too many big plays through the air to failing to collapse the pocket consistently. Making matters worse, top pass rusher Hau'oli Jamora has been lost for the year with an ACL tear. The Utes are fresh off their best game on offense, burning BYU for 481 yards and five touchdowns. As QB Jordan Wynn gradually adapts to a return from offseason shoulder surgery, the attack has been able to count on newcomer John White out of the backfield. The former JUCO running back ranks second in Pac-12 rushing with 380 yards and five touchdowns on only 61 carries.

What To Watch Out For: In a classic case of strength vs. strength, who comes out on top, the Washington offense or the Utah D? While the Huskies are flush with flashy options, the Utes are a blue-collar bunch that does the little things well, and rarely makes mistakes. In other words, it's a study in contrast. Through three games, Utah has allowed just four touchdowns while creating a dozen turnovers. The self-made linebackers have been setting the tone, and corners Ryan Lacy and Conroy Black are performing well above their pay grade. One side is going to flinch, tipping the scales in the other guy's direction.

What Will Happen: This is a pivotal game for both schools, which have designs n providing a darkhorse challenge in their respective divisions. And which are emboldened by recent victories. Utah, feeding off the home crowd, will leverage its edge on defense to defeat Washington for the first time in school history. It'll put a spoke in the Huskies wheels when it matters most, stiffening on third downs and red zone chances. It'll also spearhead another victory in the turnover battle to give Wynn, White and WR DeVonte Christopher a better look at the end zone.

CFN Prediction: Utah 31 … Washington 21
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Utah -7   O/U: 57

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