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Washington Huskies Football: A Look Back, A Look Forward

The Washington Huskies have major improvements to make after a sloppy victory over Cal as they get ready for the Utah Utes.

Ezra Shaw

Pretty sloppy game against Cal. What needs to improve between this week's game and next?

A lot but primarily pass rush, pass protection, penalties and turnovers. If I had to pick one of those though I would say the penalties because they are the easiest to fix. When you rely on your defense to keep the score low and have you tough out the game, you can't be extending opponents' drives with stupid penalties or hampering your limited offense when you have the ball.

What were the most positive things to take from Washington's win over Cal?

They won. That was really it other than a couple of good individual performances from Austin Seferian-Jenkings and Bishop Sankey. They got that win on the road they needed for their confidence though and to simply prove that they could win on the road again too.

With the Huskies all but assured of a bowl berth, what do you want to see the rest of the season to make you consider Steve Sarkisian's fourth season a success?

Simply win the last three games and finish 8-4 in the regular season. I thought that they would have a hard time getting to even six or seven wins this year, so eight wins would be above and beyond in what I thought would be a hold water year for Sarkisian where he just needed to break even to get to the next two years when things open up a bit more schedule wise and the Huskies have more experience.

When you look at the game with Utah, what are the critical head-to-head matchups Washington must win, and what particular matchups worry you?

The big one is the Husky offensive line against the Utah defensive line, particularly in the run game. The Huskies will want to control the game on the ground like they have in the last two games and keep the Utah offense off the field, but that won't be easy against Star Lotulelei and the Kruger brothers. The Huskies will need to find a way to get around Lotulelei so they can move the ball on the ground.

That's the only matchup that really worries me. The other that might would be the Husky defensive line against the Utah offensive line as the Huskies haven't been able to get pressure on anyone all year. However, I am not as concerned as I usually would be due to the lack of big play ability from Utah's receivers and true freshman quarterback Travis Wilson.

Give your Utah-Washington score prediction and explain!

Washington 24 Utah 17. I think it will be a lot like the Oregon State game, but a little more comfortable with the Huskies defense forcing selling out to the run and forcing Wilson into the mistake, while the offense plays ball control and hits on a few big plays when they need them.