There’s ‘something about Utah.’ Washington prepares for another wild game against Utes

Myles Bryant previews UW vs. Utah

UW cornerback Myles Bryant previews Saturday's Pac-12 opener against Utah.
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UW cornerback Myles Bryant previews Saturday's Pac-12 opener against Utah.
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Last year, it was Myles Gaskin’s game-tying touchdown and a walk-off field goal, all in the final 58 seconds.

In 2016, it was the 58-yard punt return from Dante Pettis in the fourth quarter.

Even three years ago, when the score went the other way, the game was decided in the final minutes.

“It’s crazy,” said linebacker Ryan Bowman, “because we know what to expect with Utah.”

Safety Taylor Rapp doesn’t know exactly how to explain the trend. Utah is a good team, he said, that always plays the Huskies tough. Beyond that, there’s just “something about Utah.”

Cornerback Myles Bryant thinks the teams’ physical styles have played a role in shaping the series.

“We just go blow-for-blow,” Bryant said, “and then we end up at the end with whoever just pulls it out.”

The Huskies’ last three games against Utah were decided by an average of seven points. If the past is any indication of the future, another wild game could be in store when the teams kick off in Salt Lake City on Saturday.

“We always have great games against Utah,” Bowman said. “It’s always a competition. We’re going to try to be on our toes and maybe more detailed than we were last year.”

While UW lost in 2015 thanks a touchdown and field goal from the Utes late in the fourth quarter, the Huskies have come out on top each of the past two seasons. Last year, that required scoring 10 points in the final 58 seconds.

Rapp and Bryant offered similar thoughts on why the Huskies were able to make the late plays and come away with back-to-to-back victories. It’s a mindset, Bryant said. One that’s all about finishing.

“Finishing every play,” he said, “finishing every drive, trying to get off the field.”

“Just being on the details.” Rapp said. “Any team can play head-to-head like we were but obviously whoever comes out with the win, that’s all that matters. We were just able to finish the past two years.”

Those qualities will be particularly important in a road atmosphere that head coach Chris Peterson described as more hostile than the Auburn-heavy crowd at the season opener in Atlanta.

“Now you’re truly on their campus,” Petersen said, “(facing) a team that is super-well coached and is going to be one of the top teams in the country when it’s all said and done.”

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