Dawgs Bring the Pound

Quinn Salkind, Sports Reporter

In one of their closest games of the season, the University of Washington Huskies pulled off a 31-24 victory against the University of Utah Utes in football on Sunday, Oct. 29. The Huskies came into the game ranked No. 4 in the country with a record of 7-0, while the Utes were ranked No. 16 with a record of 7-1.

The game ended up being one of their closest of the season, second only to their overtime win against Arizona. The majority of their wins have been no-doubt blowouts, even their breakout win against then No. 6 Stanford, which ended in a final score of 44-6.

The Huskies went up 14-0 early against the Utes, with a rushing touchdown by Myles Gaskin in the first quarter, and an early passing touchdown from Ross to Browning in the second. Utah quickly responded with 10 points of their own after Joe Williams rushing touchdown followed by a field goal, making it 14-10 at halftime.

The Utes scored first in the second half via a passing touchdown, putting them briefly in the lead. However, within three minutes the Huskies responded with one of their own, allowing for a 21-17 lead as they headed into the fourth quarter. Washington put up an early field goal, but Utah responded with a touchdown, causing both team to be tied 24-24 with 9 minutes to go.

As the clock ticked towards zero, the tension began to mount. With three minutes remaining the Huskies stopped the Utes near their own end zone, forcing them to punt. In what was the most impactful play of the game, Dante Pettis returned the punt 58 yards for a touchdown. At first Pettis looked as if he might be tackled for a loss, but evading a couple defenders he ran free to the end zone.  

“I knew Coach Pete would be mad if I got tackled right there, I somehow slipped out of it. The blockers did a good job of opening up space and I just ran. That was it,” said Pettis.

Washington then stopped Utah on their final drive, allowing the Huskies to let the clock run down for a 31-24 victory.

“We embraced the fourth-quarter fight. Obviously, the blowouts are nice. But you want to pull [these] out. So that was big for us.” said Huskies Quarterback Jake Browning.

“This to me is the real football — real Pac-12 football… You have to grind it out in the fourth quarter,” said Washington coach Chris Petersen, referencing the blowout nature of most of his team’s wins.

The Huskies now have an 8-0 record and remain as the fourth ranked team in the nation. With several weak match-ups in the near future, the hardest part of their schedule is likely behind them. With their sights set on the college football playoffs, the Huskies will have a very good shot of being one of the four teams selected for the tournament. Much of their recent success has been attributed to Coach Peterson, who was hired in 2014 after a decade of mediocrity. The last time Washington won a national championship was in 1992, and if the team continues to play at their current level, they will likely have the opportunity to compete for another.