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Utah Has The Emotional Edge Against Washington, But Will They Use It?

Utah Utes running back Armand Shyne (6) celebrates after running the ball for a touchdown, bringing Utah to within six points of the Brigham Young Cougars after the PAT, at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It’s no secret that the University of Utah is widely considered the underdog in the upcoming Pac 12  Championship game where they will take on the University of Washington.

In fact the Huskies are 5.5 point favorite according to CBS Sports.

But on Rivals Podcast, former BYU Cougar Jason Buck made a strong case for Kyle Whittingham and the Utes.

“I think the team that lost the game before, especially on a hard fought battle, has an emotional edge,” Buck said.

Buck’s co-host Scott Mitchell said that Utah and Washington are very similar teams.

Back in September, when Tyler Huntley and Zach Moss were still leading the offense, the Utes fell to Huskies, 21-7, at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.

“Utah kind of, I don’t want to say got handled by Washington, but they did not play very well,” said Utah color analyst for Utah Football, Scott Mitchell. “It was a close game.”

Scott wonders if it is purely an emotional edge or if there is more to it. He brings up examples from his time in the NFL, where they play the teams in their division twice per season.

He said that sometimes the coaches get lazy and approach it with the attitude of, “well this worked against them last time … why wouldn’t it work against them again?”

Mitchell went on to point out that it’s usually the team that makes some changes to their strategy that comes out victorious. He drew upon New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick as an example of a coach who does this really well, comparing him to a chess player.

“Utah has the desire and the hunger,” Buck pointed out.

Buck and Mitchell agree that facing a team for the second time brings about a familiarity that all of the players can use to their advantage in knowing where the weak spots are.

Buck predicted that this game will come down to one or two really big plays.

“It’s going to be a battle,” said Mitchell.

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