As always on Friday, here is the unabridged version of the facts box previewing the UW-Utah game:
Time: 7:30 p.m. at CenturyLink Field.
TV: Pac-12 Networks. Radio: KJR-AM 950-AM, 102.9-FM.
The line: Utah by 1.5.
The setup: Huskies return to Seattle for their final home game of the season having won their last two. With a victory, UW will become bowl eligible for the third straight season. Utah has also won two in a row and needs to win two of its last three to become bowl eligible for the 10th straight season.
Key matchup: Utah has one of the better defensive lines in the conference led by senior tackles Dave Kruger and Star Lotulelei, (pictured in an AP photo) the latter a prospective high first-round draft pick. The Huskies will counter with an offensive line that has improved of late, led in the middle by senior center Drew Schaefer. UW was able to get just enough of a running game going against Stanford and Oregon State, which have similarly stout defensive lines, in marquee home wins earlier this season and will attempt to do so again.
What to expect: Each team is on a two-game winning streak led in large part to improved running games — UW’s Bishop Sankey is fifth in the conference at 95 per game and Utah’s John White is seventh at 77.4. Expect each to try to get that going and control the game on the ground. UW will try to use that run to set up passes to tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Kasen Williams. Utah will try to play it safe for true freshman quarterback Travis Wilson. The two teams rank 10th and 11th in passing offense — UW at 200.7 per game and Utah at 199.1 — so there may not be a lot of fireworks.
Notes: Washington is 7-0 all-time against the Utes and is the only Pac-12 team Utah has never beaten. This is the second game between the two since Utah became a member of the conference last season. UW won 31-14 last year in Salt Lake City. … Utah has not played in Seattle since 1979, a 41-7 Husky win for a team that went on to finish 10-2 and win the Sun Bowl. … UW does not have any players from Utah on its roster. … Utah receivers coach Aaron Roderick was briefly on the initial staff of UW coach Steve Sarkisian before deciding to return to Utah. … Sarkisian now has a 24-23 record as coach at UW after having dipped under the .500 mark following a 52-17 loss at Arizona on Oct. 20. …The Pac-12 Networks broadcast crew consists of Kevin Calabro, Adam Archuleta and Yogi Roth. …
Upset brewing? As this is written, UW is again an underdog at home, which has been something of a formula for success for the Huskies this season. UW beat Stanford and Oregon State — each then in the top 10 — as home underdogs, in each playing solid defense against the run and making just enough plays on offense to score the winning points late. A similar strategy could work against the Utes.
Injuries: Out for the season for UW are RB Jesse Callier (knee), DE Hau’oli Jamora (knee), RB Deontae Cooper (knee), WR James Johnson (wrist), OL Erik Kohler (knee), OL Colin Tanigawa (knee) and DL Lawrence Lagafuaina (leg). Several players were injured against Cal and their status for this week is uncertain. Those include CB Desmond Trufant (hamstring) DL Pio Vatuvei (leg) and DL Josh Banks (leg). Sarkisian said on KJR-AM Friday that Trufant will be a gametime decision. For Utah, RB Kelvin York (ankle) is questionable while CB Ryan Lacy, who missed the WSU game last week with an unknown injury, is expected to play.