With two games remaining, the Utah Utes are looking to keep their head above water and their record above .500 with a game against the Washington Huskies. You can view the game Saturday night on ESPN (8:30 p.m. MT).
Here are five numbers to get you ready for the nationally televised game.
Utah needs that magical sixth win to gain bowl eligibility, and according to ESPN, it's not happening, at least not this week. ESPN’s football power index gives Utah only a 6 percent chance of winning on Saturday. The Utes will need to play their best game if they have any hopes of getting that coveted win against a Washington team looking to overcome a disappointing loss last week.
Washington’s second loss of the season came at the hands of the Stanford Cardinal, so join the club Husky nation. The loss means that no Pac-12 team will be represented in the college football playoffs. Out of the power-5 conferences, only the Big 12 has been represented fewer times. The Pac-12 is 1-2 all-time in the new playoff format with Oregon claiming the only victory in 2015.
For Utah to succeed, the Huskies’ defense must crumble. Washington’s defense has been absolutely stellar this season allowing only 13 points per game. Last week’s game against Stanford marked only the second time this season that Washington allowed more than 20 points in a single game.
Last week’s Utah-Washington State game was far from an offensive highlight reel for either team. Utah ran the ball 36 times for a measly 1.7 yards per attempt. The sad, and almost hard to believe part, is that Utah actually won the rushing battle. Washington State ran the ball 17 times for just 1.6 yards per attempt. Both teams weren’t able to get the ball moving on the ground and only so much of that can be attributed to stellar defensive line play. Utah will need to at least make a dent in Washington’s armor if they hope to keep this game close.
The dastardly number from last week’s game was seven. Utah committed seven turnovers and had seven penalties. The penalties should not come as a big surprise as that has been Utah’s kryptonite all season (among others to be sure), but the turnovers have not been far behind. With just two games left, Utah now leads all but four teams in turnovers lost this season. A distinction no team is longing for.
Cameron Wood is a graduate of Weber State University and a teacher and coach at St. Joseph Catholic High School in Ogden, Utah. Email: [email protected]. Follow on twitter @camwood03.