Huskies Insider Blog

Wrapping up Washington's win over Utah

If you are ever in Salt Lake City and find yourself craving a little pizza, go to The Pie Pizzeria and get an order of cheese pull-a-parts and a pizza. You won't regret it.

Sorry for the lateness of the wrap-up post, I'm about 30 seconds away from asking Delta to jettison my laptop once we take off.

From today's News Tribune ...

Here's my game story, which talks about the Husky defense winning the game.

So it had to be a little easier for coach Steve Sarkisian seeing his team win comfortably for a change. Right?

“I don’t know,” he said with a chuckle. “With our coaches, you would have thought it was 31-30 on that last series, our guys were so fired up. It feels great, though. That’s a good football team, Utah.”

Good? Yes. Pac-12 good? Maybe not yet.

The conference newcomer fell to 0-2 in league play, largely at the hands of a much-maligned Huskies defense, which manhandled the Utes at the line of the scrimmage and in the open field for much of the game.

“What I’m really proud about is our guys played physical,” said defensive coordinator Nick Holt. “We out-hit them.”Here's my sidebar story on Keith Price, who was called out in a joking way by Steve Sarkisian at halftime after a lackluster first half.

So at halftime, Sarkisian did what any good coach would do in that situation to get Price playing better.

Angry screaming? No.

Threat of the bench? Nope.

Maybe some supportive words and a hug? Not hardly.

Sarkisian reverted to mild teasing and humor.

At halftime, Sarkisian called Price up to the front of the locker room at Rice-Eccles Stadium to stand on a stool. And with all of his teammates watching, Sarkisian asked his sophomore quarterback a simple question:

“I said, ‘Can we go back to playing Keith Price football? Is that OK? Can we do that now?’” Sarkisian said.

Price’s response?

“I said, ‘Sure, coach, we can do that now,’” Price said, smiling as usual. “He didn’t really need to tell me anything. I knew what I needed to do.”

Vince Lombardi it was not.Here's my game notebook which lead with Chris Polk moving into second in UW's all-time rushing list, surpassing Joe Steele and trailing Napoleon Kaufman.

He rushed for a season-high 189 yards on 29 carries, bringing some much-needed balance to the offense and taking some of the pressure off his roommate, Huskies quarterback Keith Price.

“The easier it is for him to pass, the better he does, the easier it is for me to run,” Polk said. “You can’t have one without the other. As long as we get rolling, we’ll be fine.”

It was Polk’s 15th 100-yard rushing game in his career, which is second most to the UW record of 17 held by Napoleon Kaufman. The 189 yards moved him into second on Washington’s all-time rushing list with 3,172 yards, past Joe Steele, who had 3,168, and behind Kaufman’s 4,106.

“I’d much rather have a winning record and go to a better bowl game,” Polk said. “Rushing yards are good, but it’s not an individual sport, it’s a team sport.”

From the Salt Lake Tribune ...

Here's Lya Woodraska's game story

Back when they were in the Mountain West Conference, the Utes might have survived such shortcomings and still won. But in the Pac-12? Forget about it.

"The storyline of the game, you can’t turn the ball over five times against a quality opponent like Washington and win," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "We got in the red zone twice and couldn’t get it in." Washington knocked Jordan Wynn out of the game with a separated left shoulder, forcing back-up Jon Hays to play the second half of the game.

"We’ll have to modify things and play to his strengths," Whittingham said. "Obviously, the game plan tonight was all for Jordan. But we’ll have to take a look at that on Monday and see. There’s a chance maybe that Jordan will be able to play, I don’t know. I don’t want to jump the gun. But right now it doesn’t look good."

Columnist Gordon Monson wrote about life in the Pac 12 being harder than maybe some Utah fans expected.

Washington rolled into Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday night, accepted the gifts of the home team, and welcomed Utah to the new league with a 31-14 beatdown, a whupping the guys in red earned.

“We just didn’t have it,” defensive end Derrick Shelby said afterward.

The problem with playing in the Pac-12 is, when the Utes don’t have it, when they aren’t on top of their game, when they handle the ball as though they’re wearing boxing gloves, they aren’t playing New Mexico or Wyoming anymore.

The fact that the Utes failed to bring anything close to that made this occasion, their first Pac-12 game against a team not ineligible for the postseason, that much more punishing, painful and, ultimately, pathetic for them. Columnist Steve Kragthorpe wrote about the Utes outlook in the Pac 12 changing after the loss and the loss of Jordan Wynn.

"It doesn’t look good," said coach Kyle Whittingham, addressing Jordan Wynn’s left (non-throwing) shoulder. Yet that comment unwittingly spoke to the greater state of Uteville, with the nature of Pac-12 football hitting home in a 31-14 defeat. Rose Bowl? At this moment, the New Mexico Bowl appears attractive.

Everybody knew Utah was being phased into the Pac-12’s revenue-sharing plan, but not so for the level of competition.

The crazy thing is, if the Utes somehow beat Arizona State next weekend, they instantly will join the South division race and all will be forgiven. The whole season also could fall apart right then and there, much as happened in Saturday’s second half at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

"We couldn’t slow ’em down," Whittingham said. "They ran the ball right down our throat."