Utah Utes (9-3) at Washington Huskies (9-3)
|Date & Time||Friday November 30, 2018, 8:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Washington Huskies -3.5 -- Over/Under: 43.5
The 17th ranked Utah Utes and 16th ranked Washington Huskies will face off in the Pac-12 Championship this Friday night at Levi’s Stadium.
The 17th ranked Utah Utes won their 3rd straight game, improving to 9-3 (6-3 Pac-12) on the season, and punched their ticket to the Pac-12 Championship after defeating the BYU Cougars, 35-27, this past Saturday. Needing the victory to advance to the Pac-12 Championship, Utah scored 35 2nd half points to fight back from a 20-0 halftime deficit to secure the win. Utah was outgained by BYU by a 357-296 margin and forced 1 turnover in the victory. Leading the way for the Utes was QB Jason Shelley who completed 19 of 28 passes for 141 passing yards and a TD while also adding 61 rushing yards and a TD on the ground.
Offensively, Utah lost two of their best offensive weapons in QB Tyler Huntley & RB Zack Moss due to injury, however, backup QB Jason Shelley & RB Armand Shyne have done a nice job keeping the Utes offense respectable and have been a big reason they’ve been able to win 3 in a row. Shelly has completed 54 of 96 passes on the season for 723 passing yards, 3 TD, and an INT. The top receiving threats for Utah have been Britain Covey (4.9 rec/g; 52.6 yds/g; TD), Jaylen Dixon (1.3 rec/g; 33.9 yds/g; TD), and Samson Nacua (2.3 rec/g; 28.8 yds/g; 5 TD). In the Utes backfield, Shyne has 3 rushing TD’s while averaging 92 rushing yds on 19.3 att/g since being becoming the lead back three games ago.
Defensively, Utah is holding their opponents to an average of 19.3 ppg on 315.8 total yards per game (215.5 passing yds/g; 100.3 rushing yds/g).
The 16th ranked Washington Huskies (9-3; 7-2 Pac-12) clinched the Pac-12 North after defeating the 8th ranked Washington State Cougars, 28-15, this past Saturday in the Apple Cup. Washington, with some help from the snow, was able to slow down the top ranked passing attack of the Cougars and pulled away after an 80-yard TD run by Myles Gaskin gave Washington a 28-15 lead with 12:30 left in regulation. Washington outgained Washington State by a 487-237 margin and forced 3 turnovers in the win. Leading the way for the Huskies was Myles Gaskin who had 170 rushing yards & 3 TD’s on 27 carries.
On the season, Washington is averaging 28.0 ppg on 421.3 total yards per game (236.3 passing yds/g; 185.0 rushing yds/g). Offensively, Washington has been led by the backfield duo of Myles Gaskin (21.2 att/g; 107.6 yds/g; 10 TD) and Salvon Ahmed (7.6 att/g; 48.0 yds/g; 7 TD). QB Jake Browning has completed 65.1% of his passes for 16 TD & 9 INT while averaging 224.3 passing yds/g. The top receiving targets for Browning and the Huskies have been Aaron Fuller (4.1 rec/g; 62.8 yds/g; 4 TD) and Ty Jones (2.3 rec/g; 39.1 yds/g; 6 TD).
Defensively, Washington is holding their opponents to an average of 16.5 ppg on 311.3 total yards per game (189.4 passing yds/g; 121.8 rushing yds/g).
The Utes are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games on grass and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games. The Huskies are 1-4 ATS vs a team with a winning record and 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
Utah & Washington featured the two best defenses in the Pac-12 this season as Washington ranks 8th in scoring defense while Utah ranks 17th. Washington has been a bit disappointing this season as they had CFB Playoff hopes coming into this year, however, the Huskies have played well as of late and there is no denying that they have some impactful players on the offensive end in Jake Browning & Myles Gaskin. Utah has done a great job of overcoming injuries over the past three weeks to reach the Pac-12 Championship however, I’m going to have hard time believing that Shelly & Shyne will be able to find much success agianst the Huskies defense. Washington was able to beat Utah by a 21-7 margin in Utah earlier this season and as I just don’t see Utah’s offense scoring much in this one, I’m taking the Huskies to cover this spread and win the Pac-12 Championship.