Thursday, November 8, 2012
Five storylines: Washington-Utah
By Mason Kelley
SEATTLE -- Here are five storylines as Washington prepares for its final home game of the season, a Saturday night matchup with Utah at CenturyLink Field:
The sophomore duo of RB Bishop Sankey (above) and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins has the Washington offense rolling.
1. Surging sophomores: Washington’s offense has yet to hit its stride in 2012, but when the Huskies need to score they look to their sophomore standouts. After gaining 189 yards on the ground against Cal, running back Bishop Sankey continues to close in on 1,000 yards with 855 through nine games.
In the passing game, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins continues to make his mark, finishing with 8 catches for 152 yards and a touchdown against the Golden Bears.
If Washington wants to keep winning, the Huskies need to keep getting the ball to their sophomore standouts.
2. Winning ways: The Huskies have won their last two games to climb above .500 and are just one win away from earning bowl eligibility. However, Utah also heads to Seattle on a two-game winning streak, with the Utes needing two victories in their final three games to become bowl eligible.
Working in Washington’s favor is the idea that the Huskies have been very good at home, winning four of five games at CenturyLink Field.
3. Piling up penalties: The Pac-12 has been plagued by penalties in 2012 and the Huskies have been hit hard through their first nine games. So far this season, Washington has been flagged 72 times, which ranks them No. 115 in the nation.
The program averages eight penalties per game, and piled up a season-high 12 against Cal. Considering it has been a conference-wide issue, it points to the way the games are being officiated. But that hasn’t stopped the Huskies from working to cut down on the flags for their final three games.
4. Offensive output: In its four wins against FBS opponents this season, Washington has found a way to get just enough offense. The Huskies are still looking to break the 21-point barrier.
Utah heads to Seattle allowing an average of 22 points through nine games. If Washington is finally going to get its offense going against a Pac-12 opponent, it has to figure out a way to cut down on turnovers after giving the ball back to Cal four times during last week’s win.
5. Keep Reggie Dunn out of the end zone: Through his last two games, Utah’s senior kick returner has returned three kickoffs for 100-yard touchdowns. He did it twice Oct. 27 against Cal and once against Washington State last week.
Washington will make a point to prevent a repeat performance.