Test Against Utah Was Exactly What No. 4 Washington Needed
SEATTLE (AP) — Chris Petersen was awaiting a test for No. 4 Washington different from what it faced earlier in the season with the hype surrounding a home win against Stanford or the history behind its road victory at Oregon.
Playing on the road at No. 16 Utah was really the first true measure of where the Huskies stand. And the manner in which Washington came away with its 31-24 win over the Utes to remain undefeated was probably why Petersen was in such a good mood Monday.
Washington faced the types of challenges it hasn't seen much in the previous seven games. The Huskies trailed in the second half for the first time all season. Quarterback Jake Browning committed a costly turnover that allowed Utah to get back in the game. The Huskies defense allowed points off a turnover for the first time all season. Utah running back Joe Williams rushed for 172 yards. And there were a number of costly penalties committed by the Huskies.
Yet, Washington found a way to prevail, thanks to Dante Pettis' 58-yard punt return touchdown with 3:25 left that put the Huskies ahead for good.
Washington (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12) is almost assured of finding itself in the top 4 when the first College Football Playoff rankings are released Tuesday. And the obstacles between the Huskies and the playoff are dwindling, although this week provides a unique test going back on the road to face California.