Defense, defense, defense. That's what the Huskies do best under Chris Peterson, despite his background as on offensive guy. Despite losing 4 defensive players in the first 44 picks of last year's NFL draft, Washington hasn't lost a step defensively, holding opponents to only 360 yards per game, forcing 17 turnovers, holding opponents to 75% scoring in the red zone, a stupid 36% touchdown rate in the red zone, only 4.8 yards per play allowed, and most importantly, only 16.9 points per game, which leads the Pac 12. They could end up being without one of the anchors of that defense this week as nose tackle Elijah Qualls is week to week with an ankle injury.
Offensively, the success has been limited, but a breakout game last week against Arizona with 49 points and 468 yards may have them ready to turn the corner. For the season though, the Dawgs are averging only 350 yards of total offense per game with 219 through the air and 132 on the ground. True freshman quarterback Jake Browning has been steady this season, but not spectacular by any means completing 63% of his passes with 10 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Another freshman, Myles Gaskin, has taken the reigns at running back and is averaging 81 yards per contest and 6.1 yards per carry. The Huskies don't have any standout receivers, but do have 5 guys with 14 catches or more on the season, led by speedster Jaydon Mickens. As a team, they've turned it over 12 times.
Chris Petersen will have his team ready to play in a tough environment for opponents. He's arguably the best coach in the entire conference and tends to get his team up for big games (see the Thursday night win at USC earlier in the year). With a ridiculous amount of youth on the roster (76 freshmen and sophomores), and a boat-load of talent, you aren't exactly sure what you're going to get with these guys from week to week with all of the youth. But the raw skills of many of their young players who are developing over the course of the season makes a game against Washington a scary proposition for any opponent. Utah needs to be as prepared for this game as any this year.