Utah Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers vs Washington Secondary
The super high percentage completion guy in Troy Williams is gone. Someone killed him. Fortunately for the Utes, big-play Troy Williams remains as the junior quarterback keeps finding a way to make big throws that result in chunk yardage. On the season, Williams is completing 55.9% of his passes for 215 yards per game with 7 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Tim Patrick could/should be at or near 100% and will bring his 24 catches on the season to go along with Cory Butler-Birds's 17 grabs in 5 games. Raelon Singleton's emergence gives the Utes a third reliable option with 19 catches.
The best secondary in the Pac 12? It resides in Seattle. Budda Baker might be the conference player of the season. He has 31 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 interceptions, and is one hell of a model american. Next to him is 6-1, 208 pound JoJo McIntosh, who has 29 tackles on the year and 2 forced fumbles. Sindey Jones is a future NFL high round pick and former Utah commit at cornerback. Only 1 pick, but he has good size at 6', 180 pounds and is as good a lock-down corner as there is in the conference. Senior Kevin King is the elder statesman of the secondary at the other cornerback spot and has tallied 1 pick and 5 pass breakups. Other teams just can't throw against these guys with the Huskies only giving up 173 yards per game while completing 59%.
Utah Running Backs and Tight Ends vs Washington Linebackers
A week ago, this would have been leaning towards Washington. Now Joe Williams looks like an elite running back and Zack Moss and Troy McCormick are getting healthier, which puts the Utes in a great spot with their running back situation. On the season, the Utes are now averaging 214 per game at 4.6 yards per carry. Throw in Troy McCormick's ability to catch the ball, and you've suddenly got a dangerous group. Evan Moeia has been steady with 14 catches while Ken Hampel has proven to be an elite blocking tight end.
Is there is one weak link for the Huskies on defense, and it's not weak, it comes at the linebacker spot. They're giving up 145 yards per game on the ground but only 3.7 yards per carry. Victor Azeem is the best of the group with a team leading 48 tackles. Psalm Wooching is a playmaker with 23 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Keishawn Beirra has 40 tackles this year and an astounding 5 forced fumbles. As a team Washington has forced 12 fumbles.
Utah Offensive Line vs Washington Defensive Line
If the Utah offensive line does this week what they did last week, they'll keep putting up chunk yardage on the ground. Garrett Golles is honing his skills more and more each week while Isaac Asiata and Leka Uhatafe had monster games. Nick Nowakowski is rounding into form and looking like a serviceable Pac 12 center. Sam Tevi remains the most athletic player on the line. 6 sacks given up to UCLA last week was too many, but they'll live with it if Utah can post another 332 yard rushing game out of one back.
Washington's defensive line is one of the best in the conference, if not the best one overall, but they'll be missing a big piece in leading sack-man Joe Mathis who has 5 on the year. He'll be replaced by Connor O'Brien who has 2 sacks of his own. Across from O'Brien is Vita Vea who is a 6-5, 332 pounder with 3.5 sacks in 2016. Greg Gaines and Elijah Qualls are arguably the best interior duo in the confernce and bring at lot of beef at 318+ pounds. Qualls has 4 tackles for loss with Gaines posting a team leading 7.5. As a group, the Huskies have 25 sacks and 50 tackles for loss.
A week ago, this looked like it would be heavily in Washington's favor. Now? Hard to call it anything other than a draw on paper with Mathis out and the Utes playing so well on the line.