Pac-12 After Dark?
Well, the lights are certainly out on offense as a low-scoring Pac-12 Championship hit halftime with No. 11 Washington leading No. 17 Utah by a paltry 3-0 score.
Though both programs sport two of the conference’s best defenses, the first two quarters from Levi’s Stadium was an awful lot about two offenses not being able to get out of their own way, much less move the ball on a consistent basis.
Huskies quarterback Jake Browning did have 94 yards through the air but threw an interception off a deflection and nearly had two other passes picked off in a bit of a hectic performance for the veteran leader. His inability to be a consistent downfield threat hampered the run game as a result, with Myles Gaskin often facing a loaded box while he clawed his way to 50 yards rushing. Normally speedy backup Salvon Ahmed was also unable to get much going either with a total of 17 yards of offense on four touches.
As lackluster as some of those numbers are, the Utes would love to change places. Their offense recorded a trio of three-and-outs, managed just 2.4 yards/per play in the first half and picked up just two first downs. The end result was Kyle Whittingham’s squad badly losing the time of possession battle and looking like they were unaware of what the stakes in the game were.
Signal-caller Jason Shelley, fresh off a wild rally against BYU last week, was unable to find much at all beyond running out of bounds on third down and threw for only 37 yards while taking one sack in the half. Wideout Britain Covey was the team’s leading rusher with 14 yards on the ground, which was indicative of just how hard it was to move the ball on the ground. Utah does get the ball to start the second half and will be hoping for some magic out of the locker room once again as they look to add the conference championship trophy to their first Pac-12 South title this season.
A Rose Bowl berth is on the line for the victor in this one and you can bet that will be emphasized quite a bit by the coaching staffs on each side in hopes of injecting a little life into the conference championship race on Friday night.