John White says he can run the ball as much as the Utes need him to do so, we might just see if he is true to his word on Saturday.
Despite the hype of Washington quarterback Keith Price and the improvement of Utah's Travis Wilson, the run game for both teams could be front and center.
The big statistic for the Utes is their undefeated mark of 11-0 when White runs for more than 100 yards. While coach Kyle Whittingham downplays the coincidence of the magic number, it's still a good measuring stick for the efficiency of the Utes' offense.
Washington has its own 100-yard marker, going 182-57-3 since the 1947 season when it has a player rush for 100 yards in a game. The Huskies are 3-1 this season when current back Bishop Sankey hit the 100-yard maker with wins over Portland State, Stanford and Cal and a loss to Oregon.
So which team will win the ground battle? My hunch is it will be the Utes. Utah's defense is 15th nationally giving up 105.1 yards while the Huskies are 92nd giving up 192.2 on the ground.
Rarely have the Utes been soft against the run in the past, so much so it was a surprise to see some teams get big gains against the Utes earlier in the season. Sticking out were Utah State's 35 carries for 164-yard effort, ASU's (43 for 140) and UCLA's (47 for 171).
But a mix of improvement on the defensive side of the ball, White's improvement and some new looks in the run game that help White make me believe the Utes are going to do a better job managing the clock, getting long drives and wearing down Washington's defense.
Wilson really wants to get his first road victory, but this game really should come down to White. Let's see if he can make it 12-0.
- Lya Wodraska
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