Brock Huard: Utah’s Chances Of Winning Pac-12 Relies On Health Of Tyler Huntley

Nov 1, 2019, 9:36 PM
Utah Utes quarterback Tyler Huntley (1) throws the ball during the first half of an NCAA football g...
Utah Utes quarterback Tyler Huntley (1) throws the ball during the first half of an NCAA football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (Colter Peterson, Deseret News)
(Colter Peterson, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The ninth ranked Utah Utes face their toughest challenge this week on the road against Washington. According to FOX Sports Analyst Brock Huard, Utah’s hopes of winning the Pac-12 title this year relies on the health of quarterback Tyler Huntley.

Nine weeks through the season, Huard told the Crimson Corner podcast that Utah and Oregon are the two best teams in the conference.

“Utah and Oregon are a cut above everybody else in the conference,” Huard said. “Oregon and Utah are the teams that are built to win this season. I really hope for Tyler Huntley’s sake that he can come near full health because if he does, I would pick Utah (to win the title). If he is marginalized and he can’t run and that injury doesn’t heal up over the course of the year, then I think it is a toss-up between them and Oregon. To me, those are the two heavyweights. Everybody else is a middleweight or even a light heavyweight at times.”

Huntley suffered a knee injury in their 21-3 win over Arizona State two weeks ago and wasn’t 100 percent in the victory over California last week. The senior wasn’t able to be as mobile around the pocket and was forced to be a passing quarterback rather than a duel-threat against the Bears. Huntley is expected to play against Washington on Saturday, but is not likely to be at 100 percent health, but closer than he was in the last game.

You can listen to the full interview with Brock Huard on the Crimson Corner podcast, here:

What Utah Needs To Do To Beat Washington

When Huard was asked what Utah needed to do to get a big win in Seattle, his answer was simple. Run the ball.

“Utah is going to have to hang their hat on the run game,” Huard mentioned. “That group has to give Moss and company a chance and I think you will see (backup QB) Jason Shelley in action and they are going to have to do what Oregon and Cal did and that is to get to the second level to the linebackers where there is an enormous advantage for Utah.”

Washington’s defense allows 147.6 rushing yards per game, which is the No. 5 in the Pac-12 in the least allowed. Utah’s running game is averaging the most rushing yards per game in the Pac-12 at 219.4.

How Washington Can Beat Utah

On the other side, Washington has had a lot of success against the Utes. They are 6-1 against Utah since they became conference foes, including two wins last season, one at Rice-Eccles Stadium and the other in the Pac-12 Championship game. In order to keep the trend, Huard believes the Huskies will need a balanced attack on offense.

“There has to be enough run for Washington to set up their shots and their play-action game,” Huard said. “That is when they are at their best and when Jacob Eason is the most comfortable. They aren’t going to run the ball up and down the field because you are talking about the No. 1 rush defense (Utah) in America. I think two defensive linemen are going to be drafted in the first round. To me, that is the biggest key for Washington is that they are going to have to score 25 to 30 points to win this game because Washington’s run defense is way too susceptible.”

Utah and Washington will kickoff at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on FOX with Huard and Joe Davis on the call.

The Crimson Corner podcast is the one-stop for all things University of Utah Athletics hosted by Utah insider Trevor Allen. Ute fans will find interviews with current players, coaches and staff alongside expert analysis of every game, story and angle coming out of the University of Utah.

You can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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Brock Huard: Utah’s Chances Of Winning Pac-12 Relies On Health Of Tyler Huntley