2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 12, Utah at Washington State
Pac-12 Fearless Predictions &
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Nov. 19 Utah 30 … at Washington State 27 OT
CFN Analysis: If there was any team in the Pac-12 that could handle the wintery conditions, other than Colorado, it’s Utah. It showed as the team didn’t panic in the cold and snow, keeping up in the shootout in the fourth quarter. … John White continues to carry the offense, running for 186 yards and two scores on a whopping 42 carries. Despite being keyed on all game long, he still produced and helped take all the pressure off of Jon Hays and a passing game that sputtered in the bad weather. … There were too man penalties, committing 11, and the two fumbles were a problem, but the defense made up for the errors with key takeaways led by Mo Lee’s two picks including the game-changer in overtime. … The Utes are still alive for the Pac-12 title. They need to beat Colorado, and they need UCLA to lose to USC and for Arizona State to lose to Cal.
Wazzu might have lost six of their last seven games, and a bowl game is out of the picture, but it’s all relative. Compared to the past few seasons, the Cougars are playing far better overall. There’s something to build on for next year. ... Connor Halliday, though, played like rookie, throwing four picks to go along with his 290 passing yards and two scores. He came up with several big plays, but it was his interception in overtime that was the difference. … The defensive line didn’t have too many chances to come up with key sacks, but it generated a few big plays behind the line with nine tackles for loss. It wasn’t enough to hold off John White and the Utah running game.
(AP) PULLMAN, Wash. -- Coleman Petersen kicked a 38-yard field goal in the first overtime as Utah beat Washington State 30-27 on a snowy Saturday.
Washington State (4-7, 2-6 Pac-12) got the first possession of overtime, and quarterback Connor Halliday was intercepted by Mo Lee, his second of the game.
Utah (7-4, 4-4) took over and John White ran three times for a total of 4 yards. Then Petersen came in and kicked the winning field goal for the Utes' fourth consecutive victory.
The temperature was 27 at kickoff, with mild winds and snowfall, making it difficult for both teams to gain yards on offense.
The loss ended Washington State's hopes of becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2006.
Utah (6-4) at Washington State (4-6) Nov. 19, 5:00, FCS
Here’s The Deal … Utah belongs in the Pac-12 after all. After starting 0-4 in conference play, the Utes have rallied for three consecutive wins, capped by a 31-6 demolition of South Division-leading UCLA a week ago. The victory, the program’s fourth in the last five weeks, locked up a spot in the postseason for the ninth consecutive year. Far from content, Utah still wants to win its final two games, and keep the pressure on the Bruins and Arizona State in the South. The Sun Devils are stumbling these days in large part because of last Saturday night’s upset at the hands of Washington State, which shocked its visitor from Tempe, 37-27.
The Cougars staved off bowl elimination with the improbable victory, maintaining hope for the postseason for at least one more week. Wazzu won’t leave the state’s border for the rest of the month as it attempts to fortify the job status of fourth-year head coach Paul Wulff.
Why Utah Might Win: The Utes have found the right formula for success lately by running the ball with conviction, playing stout defense and limiting the responsibilities of QB Jon Hays. In a reduced role, playing second-fiddle to 1,000-yard back John White, Hays has responded by tossing five touchdown passes and no picks during the three-game winning streak. White, in the meantime, is now second in the Pac-12 in rushing, and has scored 14 times. On the other side of the ball, the defense has been outstanding, allowing only 19 points a game, and the second fewest rushing touchdowns in the country. The Utes are a blue-collar, fundamentally-sound crew being led by NT Star Lotulelei, linebackers Trevor Reilly, Chaz Walker and Matt Martinez, and S Brian Blechen.
Why Washington State Might Win: If you’re going to beat the Utah defense these days, you better be poised to do it through the air—the Cougars believe that they’re capable of doing just that this weekend. The newest of Wazzu’s interchangeable gunslingers is redshirt freshman Connor Halliday, who enjoyed an auspicious debut at the controls a week back. Despite not even starting the Arizona State game, he still went 27-of-36 for 494 yards, four touchdowns and no picks after replacing Marshall Lobbestael after the first few series. His receivers, especially Marquess Wilson, are vastly underrated, and are capable of getting behind the Utah secondary for sizable gains.
What To Watch Out For: Wilson and his receiving mates, Jared Kastetter and Isiah Barton, are going to create an intriguing matchup against the Utah defensive backs. A flashing question mark when the season began, cornerbacks Conroy Black, Ryan Lacy and Mo Lee have exceeded the expectations of the coaching staff. Black and Lee are a couple of athletic Florida products, who did an apprenticeship in junior college before descending upon Salt Lake City. All three are going to be challenged by a corps of receivers that’s adapted to every change that’s taken place at the quarterback position.
What Will Happen: Although Wazzu showed that it still has some life left in it, it’s not nearly as complete Kyle Whittingham’s Utah squad. The Utes will be able to out physical their host this Saturday, establishing the ground game with White, and shoving around the Cougars offense with a grown-up front seven. Utah will continue to play smart football as the regular season winds down, protecting the ball, and playing keep away from Halliday and the offense. It’ll grind out a tough win, leaving Washington State bruised and battered after 60 minutes of punishment.
CFN Prediction: Utah 31 … Washington State 21
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Utah -3.5 O/U: 51
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