No. 13 Utah leans on defense for 34-23 win over Washington

  • No. 13 Utah leans on defense for 34-23 win over Washington

No. 13 Utah leans on defense for 34-23 win over Washington

No team with more than two losses cracked the ranking. Go figure. Of course, there is plenty of time left.

The Huskies could not afford having two touchdowns called back against No. 13 Utah on top of committing four turnovers. Up next: At Washington State. Win out and that might satisfy the committee. But now the Huskies are at the point of the season that the learning process has to translate into more than just tangible progress leavened by occasional backsliding. Hogan broke a couple long runs, and the Cougars missed a potential game-tying field goal on the final play.

Once again, it's taken an interim coach to get USC up to speed.

If the Utes run the table, they're guaranteed a berth in next month's Pac-12 Championship Game. And the groundswell for Helton as a permanent hire seems to be growing.

In more recent years, the Utes have had their issues with the Huskies. Saddled by injuries, that might be easier said than done. This is a must-win game for Utah as the Utes are trying to keep their college football playoff hopes alive. If Kyle Whittingham's club can run the table to end the season - the final two of those games are at home - the Utes would enter the conference title game at 11-1. Defensively, Utah football yields 250.5 yards in passing and 113.1 yards in rushing. That's the Achilles heel. The field goal came after Washington had its second touchdown of the game called back due to penalty.

The weather made it tough for the kicking game.

No. 19 Arizona (15-9, 5-7 Pac-12) returns to the friendly confines of McKale Center, where it is 8-3 on the season, to host Washington State (14-10, 3-9 Pac-12) and third-ranked Washington (20-2, 10-2 Pac-12) this weekend.

Can we put the whole signal stealing saga to rest?

"I'm a huge fan", UCLA coach Jim Mora said of Hogan. If you film signals, that's an unethical thing.

BlockU: Utah and Washington have not played each other since 2012. "They're playing the best defense in the conference - I don't think anybody would argue with that". I think they look across the field, and if they can read something, they do it. It's no different than reading someone's stance or reading someone's formation.

Arizona (5-4, 2-4) at USC (5-3, 3-2): Southern California has persevered through its midseason upheaval and emerged with relative serenity heading down the regular-season stretch. 6-6 is a real possibility. Don't be shocked. Record: 4-5, 1-4. Will that merit an extension? It was exactly the answer Chris Petersen's team needed after losing consecutive games.

Utah has not played in Husky Stadium since 1979. This September, they climbed as high as No. 16 in the polls. But come November, it increasingly looks like they might not even reach.

There is every reason in the world for this game to be a defensive battle, with very little scoring taking place. Left on the schedule for Arizona are games at USC, against Utah and at Arizona State. That's only the start. The running back continues to shoulder the load offensively for the team, and it is a game plan that has had much success this year. One way to measure the former is through yards per play. They'll be the most physical run-stoppers Utah has faced since the opener against Michigan, when Booker gained a season-low 69 rushing yards.

The Pac-12 is 1-5 in non-conference games against teams in the committee's top 25, the lone victory being Utah over Michigan. The Bruins, though, not as methodical, were quicker to score points. And in six red-zone trips, Colorado finished with only two touchdowns.

They hold a one-game lead over UCLA and USC in the South Division with four games remaining.