Utes at Huskies
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m., Husky Stadium, Seattle
Records: No. 13 Utah (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12); Washington (4-4, 2-3 Pac-12)
Overview: The biggest key for the Huskies will be protecting freshman quarterback Jake Browning, because the Utes average 2.63 sacks per game, and pass protection has been an issue for UW this season. They mostly kept Browning upright last week against Arizona, but Utah presents a much more difficult challenge. Expect the Utes to give the ball frequently to running back Devontae Booker, who is third in the Pac-12 in rushing and is by far Utah’s best offensive weapon. His 200 rushing attempts lead the league. Sophomore defensive tackle Elijah Qualls, who injured his ankle on the first possession of the game last week against Arizona, has a chance to play, defensive line coach Jeff Choate said on Tuesday. Could always be a game-time decision. This game features the top two sack leaders in the Pac-12: UW linebacker Travis Feeney, who leads the league with 6.5, and Utah defensive end Pita Taumoepenu, who has 6.0.
Tacoma News Tribune
Vandals at Jaguars
Kickoff: Noon, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama
Records: Idaho (3-5, 2-3 Sun Belt); South Alabama (3-4, 1-2)
Online/Radio: ESPN3/590 and 1080-AM
Overview: The Vandals are coming off a 55-48 overtime loss at New Mexico State in which they led 40-21 in the fourth quarter, while the Jaguars are coming off a bye week. Among their common opponents, both teams have victories over Troy and losses to Arkansas State. The two quarterbacks are among the leaders in the Sun Belt in passing, with Idaho’s Matt Linehan (164 of 260, 1,911 yards, 10 TDs) second and Cody Clements (113 of 213, 1,593 yards, 10 TDs) second and third, respectively, in yards per game. Both have a rusher among the top 10 in the league: Elijhaa Penny of Idaho is fourth 101.8 per game while Xavier Johnson of South Alabama ranks 10th at 71.9. The Jaguars are averaging just under 380 yards and better than 23 points per game, the Vandals 420 and 28.4.
Pirates at Bearcats
Kickoff: 1 p.m., McCulloch Stadium, Salem
Records: Whitworth (7-1, 4-1 Northwest); Willamette (2-5, 2-3)
Radio: KSBN 1230–AM
Overview: The Pirates ship off for their final road game of the regular season against a Willamette team that is coming off a 49-14 win over Lewis & Clark. Whitworth, ranked just outside the D3football.com Top 25, faces an offense that averages 176.6 yards passing and 173.9 yards rushing. The Pirates surrendered 564 total yards last Saturday but gained a season-high 648 in the 50-33 win over Pacific (Oregon). If the Pirates find a way to win at Salem, it would mark only the eighth time since 1904 and first time since 2007 that Whitworth has won eight games. The Pirates will again rely on an up-tempo offense led by sophomore quarterback Ian Kolste, who is completing 62 percent of his passes. Kolste has already thrown for 3,228 yards and 24 touchdowns. The Bearcats have turned to backup quarterback Ryan Knowlton, who has completed 52.8 percent of his throws for 578 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. Last year, the Pirates faced a previously unbeaten Willamette and won 61-45 at the Pine Bowl for Whitworth’s homecoming.
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