For Cort Dennison, this football game means a little more than most. He's from Salt Lake City. He grew up cheering for and going to University of Utah games. He was a standout linebacker at Judge Memorial High School, which is about a block from Rice-Eccles Stadium, and he dreamed of going to play football there.
Only there was a minor problem, the Utes never really recruited him that heavily. Sure they had interest, but the interest was token at best. The Utes offered him the chance to be a preferred walk-on, but no scholarship. Washington offered him a scholarship and now some 200 tackles later he heads home to play in front of a wealth of family and friends.
Go ahead, make fun of him. Dennison would love it, just as he enjoys having his size (6-foot-1, 234 pounds) questioned, or having college recruiters underestimate his potential.
Going to a high school a couple blocks from the Utah campus, and as the son of a pair of Utah alums, Dennison was a Utes fan from the cradle. But Utah did not reciprocate when he was a prep recruit.
He downplays any extra incentive for this game.
“I grew up going to games there, but I kept all my options open and I ended up going to a place I love,” he said Monday.
No, he said, he wasn’t offended. “Sometimes you get looked at as an underdog; those kinds of things just motivate me. I like when people doubt me.Here's my story on the loss of defensive end Hau'oli Jamora and how the Huskies will try to overcome losing their best pass rusher.
“We’ll use a number of guys,” Sarkisian said. “You’ll obviously see Josh Shirley, who I thought had a nice ballgame last week. You’ll see Talia Crichton back over at that spot, which is what Talia played initially here his first year and a half, before he got injured. He’s comfortable at that position. And then we’ll move Everrette outside. You’ll see Everrette more at end, and obviously Andrew Hudson at that end spot. It will give us a chance to elevate Sione and give Danny Shelton more opportunities. It won’t just be one guy. It will be somewhat of a re-shuffling, but guys re-shuffling to positions they are accustomed to playing.”
Also from today's TNT is the Utah opponent box ..
Huskies’ opponent this week
UTAH (2-1 OVERALL, 0-1 PAC-12)
When: 4 p.m., Rice-Eccles Stadium TV: Root Sports Radio: 950-AM
Coach: Kyle Whittingham (60-21 in his 8th season)
Against the Huskies: The teams have played just six times – all of them in Seattle and all of them victories for Washington. The most recent came in 1979, when the 14th ranked Huskies prevailed, 41-7.
Wash ington connections: UW linebacker Cort Dennison attended Judge Memorial High School in Salt Lake City, a block from Rice-Eccles Stadium, and grew up going to Utah games. But he wasn’t heavily recruited by the Utes. Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow has worked with several UW staff members, including Steve Sarkisian, who was his starting QB when Chow was OC at BYU in 1995-96. Sarkisian coached under Chow at USC, while UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt was also a staff member.
Scouting report: The Utes had a bye week after pounding arch-rival BYU, 54-10, on Sept. 17. Under Whittingham, Utah is 6-0 after regular-season byes. Offensively, Utah struggled early with Chow’s system, particularly QB Jordan Wynn after offseason surgery on his throwing arm. Wynn has completed nearly 55 percent of his passes and has made big throws when Utah needed them. RB John White, a juco transfer, is averaging 6.4 yards per carry. He carried for 174 yards and three TDs against BYU. The Utes lead the nation in recovered fumbles (8) and lead the Pac-12 (and rank third in the country) in turnover margin at plus 9, with four interceptions.
Did you know: Utah receivers coach Aaron Roderick was hired by former BYU teammate Sarkisian to coach receivers at UW, but he decided after a week or two to return to Utah.Let's go around the Pac 12 ...
Pac 12 North
Cal: Jon Wilner gave Cal a C- for its effort against Washington
Stanford: Like a good leader, Shayne Skov isn't letting the fact that he is out for the season keep him from being a presence on the team.
Washington State: A quick look at the Cougs matchup with Colorado
Pac 12 South
ASU: Running back Cameron Marshall gives the Sun Devil some balance on offense
USC: And Yahoo does it again, giving us the real reason why Willie Mack Garza left his job as USC's secondary coach.