What were the biggest factors for Washington producing such a big win against Utah?
Gekko Mojo, UW Dawg Pound: Keith Price and home-cooked Defense. On offense, the O-Line is starting to get a little continuity going, especially now that we’ve had three games in a row started by the same unit. The pass protection wasn’t perfect, but it was serviceable against a good Utah front and KP was clearly in rhythm. Defensively, the Huskies continue to show off their Pass D, despite a lack of a real pass rush, by holding Utah’s Travils Wilson to just 55 yards passing.
Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: A good game plan, home field and a not very good Utah team. The Huskies won their third-straight game with the same recipe of controlling the ball with the run, hitting well timed play-action passes, stuffing the run and daring struggling opposing quarterbacks to beat them with the pass. I don’t know if they are just really comfortable playing at home or if they love CenturyLink, but the Huskies simply just played very well there all year and it was a great environment for their defense to limit a freshman quarterback.
What were the biggest negatives for Washington after their win?
Gekko Mojo, UW Dawg Pound: Down three rotation players on the D-Line, the Huskies resorted to starting a walk-on Sophomore at DT and rotating stud TE, Austin Seferian-Jenkins in at DE for about 8 or 9 plays. While the injury problem isn’t likely to resolve itself anytime soon, the Huskies are hopeful of finding a lost pass rush against Colorado and WSU to end the season.
Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: The defense still can’t get a pass rush even after putting their All-American tight end at risk. They can get away without having any kind of pass rush against guys like Travis Wilson at home, but watch out if they can’t get it improved by the time they travel to Pullman to face their passing attack.
Now that the Huskies are likely on their way to at least an eight win season (barring craziness), what are the things the Huskies have to improve on between this year and next to get to that next level in the Pac-12 North?
Gekko Mojo, UW Dawg Pound: If you assume that the young WRs will develop (and, as a bonus, Senior James Johnson will get a redshirt and return next season), then the focus will shift quickly to the young offensive line. The only starting Senior on the Huskies offense is C Drew Schaeffer. Replacing the line’s signal caller and developing the continuity of the line that will feature returning injured starters Colin Tanigawa and Erik Kohler is job A#1 for the Huskies next year.
Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: In the bigger picture they need to develop an identity. Think about the top-level teams in the conference - Oregon, Stanford, USC, you know what they are all about and they are able to fit guys into different roles and not miss a beat. They look like they are turning into a team that plays tough defense and controls the ball with the run but I don’t know if they will be able to do it against the big boys in the conference.
From a personnel/scheme standpoint, Keith Price needs to become a leader, a couple of young receivers need to step up, the offensive line needs to get healthy and they need to keep bringing in the talent in their recruiting that they have in the last two years.