washington

UW Huskies vs. Utah Utes Week 5 Handicapping Preview

Washington (3-1) at Utah (2-1)

Another week and another fine performance for the Washington Huskies.

After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter at home to California last week, they bounced back just over a minute later with a TD strike of their own and never trailed again. Keith Price continued to shine, throwing for 292 yards and three touchdowns, as the Huskies prevailed 31-23.

Washington Huskies (3-1) @ Utah Utes (2-1)
Saturday, October 1, 7:00 p.m. ET
Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT
Favorite: Utah -8

That said, Washington’s defense is still showing some alarming trends. Will those shortcomings come back to bite the Huskies as they visit Utah, their newest Pac-12 neighbour, this week?

Price’s development is thrilling news for a UW fanbase that was sore about losing Jake Locker to the NFL. In four games, he’s thrown for 983 yards and 14 touchdowns with just three interceptions and completed 67 per cent of his passes.

The only problem: Passing the ball is about the only thing the Huskies have actually done well this season.

As much as Chris Polk entered this season as a future high NFL draft pick – and, according to some, a sleeper Heisman Trophy candidate – it’s time to wonder if he’s lost a step, at least temporarily.

UW vs. Utah Week 5 Handicapping Preview

His preseason knee surgery hasn’t limited his workload but he ran for just 60 yards on 20 carries. Polk does have a few 100-yard games already this season but doesn’t seem to have the same explosiveness so far.

An even bigger worry for Washington is its defense. The Huskies allow 33.2 points, 453 total yards and 327.5 passing yards per game, ranking 104th, 108th and 117th in the country in those respective categories.

We can argue that they bend without breaking, as evidenced by the 3-1 record, but we have to think the defensive struggles will have consequences soon enough.

Losing Hau’oli Jamora, their stud defensive end, for the season with an ACL injury last week means the “D” could be even softer against Utah.

Utah will be hungry to make a statement in its first Pac-12 home game this week.

It annihilated BYU on the road 54-10 in Week 3 before its bye, showing some stout run defense. It’s possible that the Utes will neutralize Polk and put the heat on Price to perform.

So far, Price has been great, so that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

Whatever happens, Washington should expect a dog fight against a Utah team that has had a chip on its shoulder ever since it got no love for going undefeated in the MWC in 2008.

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