University of Washington

Washington vs. Utah game preview

Washington running back Myles Gaskin (9) rushes in the third quarter. The University of Washington played North Dakota in a NCAA football game at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018.
Washington running back Myles Gaskin (9) rushes in the third quarter. The University of Washington played North Dakota in a NCAA football game at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018. joshua.bessex@gateline.com

NO. 10 WASHINGTON (1-1) AT UTAH (2-0)

7 p.m., Saturday, Rice-Eccles Stadium

The line: Washington -6.5

TV: ESPN

Radio: KOMO-AM 1000/FM-97.7

Outlook: As many UW players and coaches discussed this week, playing Utah is never boring. The last three games in the series were decided by an average of seven points.

Last year, in the final 58 seconds, Myles Gaskin scored a game-tying touchdown and UW won on a walk-off field goal. In 2016, Dante Pettis returned a 58-yard, game-winning punt in the fourth quarter. Three year ago, Utah scored a touchdown and a field goal in the final three minutes to secure a victory.

“You just know Utah plays well,” said Husky head coach Chris Petersen. “They play hard, they play physical, they’re well coached. No matter who they play, it’s going to be a hard-fought game. That’s just the nature of who they are.”

Petersen described Utah as having one of the best, if not the best, defenses in the Pac-12. Last season, the Utes finished third in the conference in total defense (338.4 yards per game) and rushing defense (131.3) and fourth in passing defense (207.1).

Utah is leading the country in total defense so far this season, giving up an average of 144 yards per game in its first two contests. Granted, those games were against Weber State and Northern Illinois. The Huskies will provide the first big test.

While UW and Utah’s defenses have played well through two games this season, both teams’ offenses are still looking to get on track. Utah scored 17 points in its victory over Northern Illinois last week, while the Huskies are averaging just 148.5 rushing yards per game.

Petersen brushed off the slow start for running back Myles Gaskin, who is averaging 64 rushing yards per game.

“I’m not worried about Myles,” Petersen said. “That’s not the issue. We got five guys that all got to get on the same page. If one guy doesn’t take care of his assignment, there’s a problem there. They might know their assignment and then there’s a physical issue we got to take care of.”

The pick: Washington 24, Utah 17

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