Whittingham says offense and defense got it done in win at Washington


Utah Utes defensive back Jaylon Johnson (1) scores on the pick-six against the Washington Huskies in Seattle on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. Utah won 33-28.

Utah Utes defensive back Jaylon Johnson (1) scores on the pick-six against the Washington Huskies in Seattle on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. Utah won 33-28. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Strong finish came on both sides of the ball

SEATTLE — It proved to be a lot of this and a lot of that in ninth-ranked Utah’s 33-28 victory over Washington. There were mass contributions and key adjustments as the Utes managed to defeat the Huskies for just the second time in 14 all-time meetings.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said it was just a battle, battle and battle where the Utes never relented or gave in. They found a way to prevail, he continued, and it was great.

So was it the offense or defense that made the difference?

“Both. I think both. I think both upped their level of play after the first quarter, first quarter and a half,” Whittingham said. “And we seemed like we kept getting stronger as the game went on, kept getting stronger and stronger and taking more control.”

The offense was once again led by quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zack Moss. Huntley threw for 284 yards and two touchdowns, while Moss had team-highs in rushing (100 yards) and receiving (five catches).

“It’s kind of like we expected. We came into the reigning Pac-12 championship house and we got everything we wanted,” Moss said. “They definitely made us better today.”

Utah got off to a sluggish start and trailed 14-3 at one point. Things eventually turned around as the Utes improved their execution. They converted on 9-of-16 third-down situations, finishing with 399 yards of total offense in the process.

“We just knew we were a better team and we tried to continue to keep fighting,” Moss said. “We knew it was going to be a four-quarter game.”

“In order to win a game you’ve got to convert third downs. That’s what we were harping on.” — Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley

Huntley added that the Utes just did what they had to do. Nine players caught passes and four rushed for positive yardage in a game where two fumbles were lost.

“In order to win a game you’ve got to convert third downs,” Huntley said. “That’s what we were harping on.”

Time of possession also proved pivotal, with Utah holding the ball for more than nine minutes longer than Washington.

Utah’s defense also shook off a shakier-than-normal start. During the decisive stretch in the second half, the Utes forced three punts and had a takeaway.

“It was a great defensive effort,“ said safety Julian Blackmon. “They were going to make plays. We knew they were going to make plays. It was just a matter of us responding, how we were going to respond. In the second half I felt like we did that really well.”

Terrell Burgess finished with 10 tackles to lead the Utes. Cornerback Jaylon Johnson had a pivotal pick-6 of 39 yards in the second half. Blackmon also had an interception, while Mika Tafua recovered a fumble. Other notable performances included sacks by …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

      

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