Another night game means another really late night here in the press box. Which also means I need to get out of here rather quickly.
Fortunately, this isn’t a game that needs a huge amount of analysis.
Simply put, the Huskies were the better team in every area, and after the TD run early, dominated the rest of the game. UW outgained Utah 437-188 for the game, and it was 354-112 in the final three quarters.
Offensively, it was the best game of the year for the Huskies, and especially Keith Price (scoring above in a John Lok photo), who looked like the Price of 2011, using his legs for either key gains or to throw accurate passes on the run, and executing well in the pocket (and staying strong in the pocket when the rush did come).
As Steve Sarkisian said later, the game tonight was “kind of our mix, kind of our balance.”
Bishop Sankey had another lunchpail day with 162 yards on 36 carries (and he’s now had 65 carries in the past two games, dispelling any worries about his durability); Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Kasen Williams each had seven catches and other guys chipped in with just enough when their number was called (notably Jaydon Mickens, reversing the drop of last week with a 47-yard catch to set up a TD); and the offensive line — which started the same five for the third straight week and didn’t appear to ever vary (that five being Micah Hatchie, Dexter Charles, Drew Schaefer, Mike Criste and Ben Riva) again showed improvement against what is one of the better D-lines in the conference.
Defensively, the Huskies simply shut down Utah’s passing game, and while the Utes got a few runs, it wasn’t enough to really make it a game.
UW got creative up front to make up for some injury issues, such as the use of walk-on Drew Schultz early and Austin Seferian-Jenkins at end. John Timu played another stellar game and overcame the scary stinger in the third quarter to return, and Travis Feeney shook off the illness that limited him the last two weeks to share the lead in tackles with nine. The interior line also seemed to play better with Danny Shelton and Andrew Hudson combining for three tackles-for-a-loss.
On special teams, UW simply worked around Reggie Dunn by never kicking to him, and then also made a huge play at a key time with the fumble recovery of the punt (interestingly by Jamaal Kearse, who also had the fumble return for a touchdown last year at Utah).
The win makes UW bowl eligible for a third straight year. Last season, when UW got bowl eligible, Sarkisian said it was like playing with house money.
He took a much different tone this time saying there is still “a lot of work to be done” for this team,.
No doubt they see the goal now as going 8-4 with a chance to get to 9-4 with a bowl win.
As for which bowl, it’s still really hard to know. My hunch is still probably no higher than the Sun Bowl of those that have Pac-12 agreements since USC, UCLA, Stanford and Oregon State could all still finish with better records — and the Trojans and Bruins would be highly sought after (also, at this point, there’s probably going to be just one Pac-12 BCS team). But I’ll try to break down the bowl picture more in the next few days.
For now, here are a few links:
— Here’s my game story, and I realize that one thing I meant to make clear in there is that this was also the first double-digit win of the year for UW against a non-BCS foe.
— Jerry Brewer writes that the Huskies got the old Keith Price back.
— Here’s the notebook leading off with an item on ASJ.
— Percy Allen writes about Utah’s offensive struggles.
— Here’s the 2-Minute Drill.
— Here’s the coverage from GoHuskies.com, which includes some quotes and stats.
— The Salt Lake Tribune says the game was a step in the wrong direction for Utah.
— Tribune columnist Kurt Kragthorpe notes Utah is now 6-10 in Pac-12 play since joining the conference — three wins coming against schools that later fired their coaches.
— Marshawn Lynch spoke to Utah running backs Friday night.
— The Deseret News notes it was the first time Utah had lost when John White rushed for 100 yards.