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Defense leads Washington to victory: Utah Instant Reactions

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UW rode Myles Gaskin and the defense for a hard fought win to open Pac-12 play.

NCAA Football: Washington at Utah
Jake Browning knows it’s a TD.
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Washington and Utah collided tonight in an extremely physical contest, showcasing two of the Pac-12’s best defenses. It was the team with the offense that made the least mistakes, however, that came out on top. Thankfully for the Huskies, the run game began to rev up and Myles Gaskin’s 30 carries led them to the win.

The Huskies showed some familiar warts, but made it out of Salt Lake City with a big 21-7 win. The offense started out strong, establishing the run and marching right down the field. Myles Gaskin’s 38 yard scamper made it 7-0 early, before Utah answered with a long drive of their own. Those were the last points Utah would score all night, because this night belonged to the Husky defense.

This just about summed up their evening:

Utah’s offense was certainly a mess but there is no doubt the Husky defense won the game, holding the Utes to 261 total yards and forcing 3 turnovers. Washington time and again did not allow Utah to come up with points in the red zone. But, the pass rush still remains a concern with the only meaningful sack coming on a Taylor Rapp blitz, and the other coming late in the 4th with the game decided.

Aaron Fuller had another strong game with over 100 yards on his 6 grabs, and it’s safe to say he’s firmly established as the team’s #1 receiver. Ty Jones couldn’t come down with any of his deep shots but caught a 3rd quarter TD after some nice work from Jake Browning. However, the offensive MVP was Gaskin.

Despite Washington being in control for most of the game, they were unable to totally pull away on the score board.

Jake Browning had a solid 6.5 YPA, but nearly gave the game away in the 4th quarter with an unbelievably bone headed play, giving the ball right to a Utah lineman. Washington was extremely fortunate the returning lineman fumbled the ball, because it was a sure touchdown. Utah couldn’t come away with points on the drive.

The Utes had another chance in the red zone after bad punting gifted them field position, but they yet again were unable to convert the trip into points.

Washington didn’t have a huge day on offense, but did enough against one of the better defenses they will face this year. Utah’s two targeting ejections were no doubt a factor, too.

There is plenty to clean up, but any road win in conference is a good win.

Reaction Dots:

  • Finally, turnovers! Two fumble recoveries and a pick for the defense after a two game dry spell were huge in deciding the game. Shout out to Jordan Miller for the 1st interception of the season.
  • Myles Gaskin has to be the player of the game, with 30 carries for 143 yards and the long 1st quarter TD. He was the engine for the entire offense.
  • Salvon Ahmed’s usage was bizarre to say the least. He disappeared after an early carry only to get two touches in the 4th quarter. Gaskin mostly picked up the slack, but it deserves an explanation, be it injury or otherwise.
  • The offensive line had a lot of issues going against Utah’s blitzes, which usually overwhelmed them.
  • Andre Baccellia was a reliable target downfield making 3 catches, and his 37 yard end around put Washington in position to go up 14-7.
  • Part of the OL issues was the constant rotation. Hilbers was in and out, Bainivalu got snaps, and Nick Harris left late with an injury.
  • Jake Browning at times looked solid, and other times looked like the worst of 2017. The OL play was a factor but he needs to make smarter decisions.
  • Washington’s defense was hitting hard tonight, making Utah receivers and ball carries earn every yard. Britain Covey took an absolute beating and Zach Moss wasn’t really a factor.
  • Byron Murphy deserves a mention too. He was all over the place, breaking up passes, and making big hits. The whole secondary was stellar, holding Tyler Huntley to 3.6 YPA and no TDs.
  • The punting game needs Joel Whitford back.
  • It will be nice to head home next week for a conference game in Husky Stadium. After a cross country opener, and a trip to one of the Pac-12’s most hostile venues, a two week home stand is welcome respite. Revenge is on the mind with Arizona State coming to town.