Week 11 – Utah at Washington

Posted Nov 8, 2012

Week 11 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Utah at Washington

Utah (4-5) at Washington (5-4) Nov. 10, 10:30, Pac-12 Networks

Here's The Deal: Neither the South nor the North Division will be at stake at the Clink this week, but a spot in the postseason just might be.

Utah and Washington are both riding two-game winning streaks as the end of the regular season quickly approaches. A third in a row for the Huskies, who have already beaten ranked teams from Stanford and Oregon State, will lock up a December bowl game with a victory on Saturday night. With the softest part of the schedule in the windshield ahead, U-Dub has an opportunity to transform this once-sinking season into something quite respectable.

The Utes are attempting to rally in November much the way they did last season for head coach Kyle Whittingham. They've found solid footing on the last two Saturdays, producing 49 collaborative points in routs of Cal and Washington State. If Utah is going to maintain its momentum, though, it'll need to prove it can win outside of Salt Lake, which hasn't happened since last Nov. 19.

Why Utah Might Win: The Utes are finally getting support from all three units.

Utah has scored 98 points over the last two weeks, but it's been the offense, defense and special teams that have contributed to the output. The program is beginning to receive dividends for handing the ball to true freshman QB Travis Wilson, whose ability to spread the ball around is opening up running lanes for John White. And the Star Lotulelei-led front seven is going to cause serious problems for a questionable Washington O-line. But the biggest hero of late, by far, has been senior speedster Reggie Dunn, who has returned three kicks for touchdowns in the last two games.

Why Washington Might Win: Not only has Utah labored on the road, but Washington has been a different team in Seattle.

The Huskies have been a completely different squad at their adopted home of CenturyLink Field, registering two key upsets, and losing just once to USC. The D has been spotty against the likes of Oregon and Arizona, but Utah isn't Oregon or Arizona. Instead, it's a team with a rookie quarterback and a so-so offense. U-Dub has held five opponents to no more than 13 points, rallying around the new system of coordinator Justin Wilcox. Wilson will have his hands full trying to navigate an improving defensive backfield littered with talented playmakers, like CB Desmond Trufant and safeties Sean Parker and Shaq Thompson.

What To Watch Out For: Washington QB Keith Price has had a rough second season as the starter. It's a good thing that RB Bishop Sankey has been around to pick up the slack.

The sophomore is coming off his best game as a Husky, running for a career-best 189 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Cal. Now, running the ball against the front wall of Utah will be considerably tougher, so Price will continue to look on intermediate routes for TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who is also coming off a monster game in Berkeley.

What Will Happen: In a close game between schools with similar goals, go with the one that thrives at home … and against the one that has yet to win on the road.

The Washington defense has quietly played very well for Wilcox, and will continue to do so against the sputtering Utah attack. In what figures to be an uncharacteristically low-scoring Pac-12 tussle, Huskies PK Travis Coons will attempt more field goals than he has at any point in 2012. Three connections, in fact, will help provide the difference in a physical and hard-fought game.

CFN Prediction: Washington 23 … Utah 20
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Utah -1.5 O/U: 46
Must Watch Rating (5 – Skyfall, 1 – Wreck It Ralph): 2.5