Lessons Learned From The Utes’ First Game Against Washington

Nov 29, 2018, 2:49 PM | Updated: 3:58 pm
Myles Gaskin #9 of the Washington Huskies leaps into the end zone for a touchdown in the first half...
Myles Gaskin #9 of the Washington Huskies leaps into the end zone for a touchdown in the first half of a game against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium on September 15, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Pac-12 Championship game will be the second time this season that Washington and Utah have met. Washington won the first meeting 21-7 on September 15 in Salt Lake City.

With the old saying “It’s hard to beat the same team twice,”  and with conference hardware on the line, what lesson could the Utes take from the September loss and make sure it doesn’t happen again on Friday? Utah seems to hold the emotional edge.

Take Care Of The Football

Utah committed three turnovers against Washington with the Huskies capitalizing with just seven points on those miscues. The Utes forced Jake Browning to throw an interception but the Utes failed to convert as they turned the ball over on downs at the Washington two-yard-line.

The three turnovers for Utah came from two fumbles and one interception thrown by quarterback Tyler Huntley.

Don’t Get Ejected For Targeting

With 4:11 left in the second quarter, Utah safety Marquise Blair was ejected for targeting penalty on Washington’s Myles Gaskin.

In the third quarter, defensive tackle Leki Fotu joined Blair in the locker room after being called for roughing the passer on Browning which turned into a targeting penalty. Washington gained momentum from that play and scored a touchdown on that drive. While some targeting calls are questionable, Utah can’t afford to have a key defender ejected for targeting in the Pac-12 Championship game.

Stop The Washington Running Game

Two of Washington’s three touchdowns in the game was on the ground, one from Gaskin and Browning. Gaskin finished with 143 rushing yards. Utah couldn’t get their offense going against the Huskies with only seven points and 261 yards of total offense.

Utah needs to stop Gaskin and limit his explosive plays. In 2016 at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Gaskin rushed for 151 yards in the Huskies 31-24 win.

That game was still during the time that Utah was still finding their offensive identity. They just 17 points against Northern Illinois the previous week with just one offensive touchdown.

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