It's a battle worthy of a main event featuring two of the Pac-12's heavyweight programs when No. 5 Washington plays host to two-time reigning Pac-12 champion No. 18 Utah on Saturday. The undefeated Huskies are right on the precipice of making the field for the College Football Playoff with the second-longest winning streak in the FBS. Washington outlasted USC 52-42 in its last game behind 256 yards and four touchdowns from running back Dillon Johnson.
Utah has struggled with injuries all year but sits at 7-2 heading into the home stretch. The Utes crushed Arizona State 55-3 behind four touchdowns passing from quarterback Bryson Barnes and 352 yards on the ground. Despite missing their starting quarterback Cameron Rising, Utah has scored 30 points in three of its last four games.
The matchup is the final regular-season meeting between Washington and Utah as Pac-12 opponents. The Huskies hold a 13-2 record all time against the Utes, with the most recent involving a 24-21 Washington victory during the Covid-shortened 2020 season. Washington did not have to play Utah during either of the Pac-12 championship seasons.
How to watch Washington vs. Utah live
Date: Saturday, Nov. 11 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Husky Stadium -- Seattle
TV: Fox | Live stream: fubo (Try for free)
Washington vs. Utah: Need to know
Super passer: Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has established himself as the nation's most productive quarterback heading into the home stretch. The senior has thrown for 250 more yards than any other passer in college football and also ranks No. 3 with 26 touchdowns. After Penix threw a beautiful game-winning touchdown against Oregon, he took over as the Heisman Trophy favorite. However, Penix has only thrown for 300 yards in one of his last three games. Penix needs to prove he's healthy against a physical Utah defense.
Finding a way: Since the season started, Utah has been without its top quarterback, top two tight ends and a top running back. Converted safety Sione Vaki has been playing relief snaps for running back Ja'Quinden Jackson. Still, Utah has found a way. Utah ranks top 10 nationally defensively, holding opponents to just 15.9 points per game. Defensive end Jonah Ellis leads the Power Five with 12 sacks. Utah has the ability to make the game difficult.
Shorten the game: Washington's defense has been solid for most of the year, but the Huskies are notably poor at defending the run. UW allows a success rate of 45.9% on rushes, which ranks No. 114 nationally, and surrenders nearly 4.4 yards per carry. Utah isn't an efficient rushing offense, but the Utes produce nearly 200 yards rushing per game on the back of the quarterback Barnes and running backs Jackson and Jaylon Glover. The more Utah can limit possessions, the more difficult they can make Washington's job.
Washington vs. Utah prediction, picks
Odds via SportsLine consensus
The Utes have given almost every one of their opponents a major blow but struggled to keep pace with a feisty Oregon team. The Huskies are closer talent-wise to the Ducks and should be able to physically outman the ailing Utes at home. Penix needs a get-right game against a good defense, and Washington should be able to find some creases against Utah's top unit. Pick: Washington -9.5
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