Week 9

Washington 31, Utah 24: What Does It All Mean?


Washington wins a really big game, getting by Utah 31-24. What does it all mean?


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Washington 31, Utah 24: What Does It All Mean?

Both teams won, in their own way. Yeah, that might sound like a vanilla, everyone-gets-a-trophy sort of thing, but Utah proved it’s absolutely for real, and it just might be good enough to win the Pac-12 South and get another shot at Washington – maybe – for the conference title. The loss isn’t a killer for the title hopes.

Washington got pushed hard against a physical team on the road, and it came up with the plays it needed to have when everything wasn’t going quite right, highlighted by the explosive, season-defining – at least so far – punt return from Dante Pettis.

The Washington defense showed it could be beaten. As good as it is, and as talented as it might be, it still got run on, and it still gave up a few key passes late as the Utes came back late to almost pull off the upset. A tough, physical running game can work on the Dawg defensive front, but this week, that was partly because …

Joe Williams is really, really good. Washington got a big day out of its own star RB – Myles Gaskin tore off 151 yards and a score – but it was Williams who kept control of the game with 172 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries. Troy Williams threw a few beautiful balls, but he only completed 14-of-31 passes. He ran for 30 yards to keep the chains moving, but it was the other Williams who settled everything down.

Will Washington be ranked in the first College Football Playoff top four rankings? It doesn’t matter. Go unbeaten, and there’s no question what will happen. Lose once, and even at 12-1 it’s probably in.

Can the Dawgs survive the two knuckleball pitch shootout games coming up against Cal and Washington State on the road? Can they deal with a red-hot USC team at home? Throw in the Arizona State game, and this is still going to be a fight of a final month.

The Utes are still in complete and total control of their Pac-12 destiny. They still get to face Colorado, but that’s on the road, but that’ll be for the South title if they beat Arizona State in two weeks and Oregon the week after. They’ll be 9-2 going into Boulder.