Petersen: "They played hard and figured out a way to get it done. It was nice to answer in a unique way on the special teams because (Utah is) good on special teams.”

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SALT LAKE CITY — Reaction from Washington coach Chris Petersen after the Huskies’ 31-24 victory at Utah:

(Opening) “I thought it was a really good game by two good teams. Physical game. Thought both lines were fairly impressive. That’s a stout offensive and defensive line that Utah has, and our guys battled hard to run the ball. I thought we were pretty effective running it at times. We probably didn’t throw it or pass protect as much as we’d like. I’ll have to go back and take a look at the tape to see where we go from here.”

(On Dante Pettis’ punt-return touchdown) “Well, I think we were on it. We talked a lot about tackling. We talked a lot about turnovers, and we talked a lot about special teams this week. All that stuff showed up loud and clear. It was awesome for Dante to get that done at the end, because that punter’s a heck of a punter. He’s a weapon. We could get nothing. He just kept driving us back, driving us back. We probably fielded it one time when we shouldn’t have, and then he lets it go and it dies inside the 5. I mean, he’s really, really good. We finally got our chance, Dante made a couple guys miss. Hats off to him. but special teams showed up. Cam (Van Winkle) came through on a clutch kick. Turnover thing showed up. We got that pick that hurt us, put our defense – although I think our defense swelled up and did a nice job until we got a couple stupid penalties. I think those two penalties really, really hurt us. We could have got off the field twice and didn’t, and I think they ended up getting something out of both those. Then tackling showed up. That’s a physical offensive line with a really good running back to go behind it. He keeps things alive, stays behind the line. If you don’t really have a couple guys wrapping it up, he’ll make yards.”

(As far as the unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, did you address that more this week with your guys knowing Troy Williams, etc?) “That showed up on the one on the goal line, for sure. That was not good. Disappointing. I thought we’d have a little more poise than that.”

(On completing only 12 passes but getting chunk plays) “We’ve been fairly effective all season long throwing the ball downfield getting not just quick-game type completions. I thought Utah did a great job with their coverage. They were pretty adamant we weren’t going to come in here and throw for a lot of yards, and they disguised things, changed some stuff. Their pass rush was good. I thought they did a really good job with that.”

(on UW in a tight game) “This to me is the real football — real Pac-12 football. We came at at halftime, they were angry, and kind of had that look in their eye. I wanted to make sure it was the right look. This is how it goes. You have to grind it out in the fourth quarter. Having games with huge leads in the first half, we’ve been fortunate, but I don’t think that’s how it goes from here on out. So we need to learn to be able to play, and play with poise, in tight games. The second half was better, although we did have another one, have to see it on tape, we had them off the field, had a penalty to keep it alive for them.”

(on Eldrenkamp injury) “There was a three-way rotation with Shane Brostek, Andrew Kirkland and Nick Harris. It’s hard when you lose a senior offensive lineman who has played a lot of football for us and is kind of one of the pillars in there. But I thought those guys got some great work against a quality, quality defensive line. I’m anxious to put the tape in. I don’t really know how they did. We’ll get Jake back. It’s nothing super serious. I don’t know if we’ll get him next week. We’ll see when we get back.”

(Running game getting going)” I think a lot of that was due to Myles (Gaskin). Myles made it get going. I think our line did a pretty good job on a couple of runs that were blocked pretty clean. But a couple of them weren’t, and I thought Miles was kind of back to his old bag of tricks of kind of making guys miss, spinning out of things. I thought Lavon ran really hard too. It was a good combination.”

(Joe Mathis’ absence show up today?) “I think it does. He’s an explosive pass rusher and we miss him, for sure.”

(on Browning’s autonomy to check plays at the line) “There was a decent amount of it going on. I was a little bit concerned with it, just because of the noise. It’s hard to make sure everyone is on the same page. But each game we have quite a bit of that. He was on it pretty good. A lot of it was man-zone coverage. They were really trying to do a nice job of disguising what coverage they were in. We knew that was going to be. But I thought he was on it good and we got some…we had the plays on we wanted for the most part by him being able to identify coverage.”

(on handling adversity) “I don’t really want our guys to think of it as adversity — this is just Pac-12 football and playing good team. That’s how they’re going to go. You’ve just got to answer back and forth. The guys probably think it was adversity, but I don’t think it was adversity — it was just real football. Nevertheless, we haven’t been in a bunch of those games, haven’t for awhile. But they played hard and figured out a way to get it done. It was nice to answer in a unique way on the special teams because (Utah is) good on special teams.”

(on Pettis backtracking initially on his punt return, knowing Petersen would be upset if he got tackled for a loss) “We kind of laughed out there after that second-to-last punt because (Wishnowsky) drives us back (inside the 5). I said, ‘He’s good.’ And I think the punt returner is kind of like a boxer — you’ve just got to counter-punch and hold your ground. And if they give you a pitch to hit — now I’m onto baseball (laughs) — then you’ve got to strike. That’s always been our them, and Dante’s been pretty good at it.”

(First College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday — how excited are you (tongue in cheek)) “I mean, I think you guys all know. We’ve got a bunch of football left to play. And if they’re looking at that, they’re looking at the wrong stuff. We’re playing a team going right down to the wire with Utah, and Cal next week — they just keep coming. It’s a good, fun conference to play in in terms of the parity. There’s a lot of football left.”

(What were you most pleased with?) “I think the fourth quarter, how tight it was. We just kind of figured out a way. The defense stopped when we had to, figured out a way to score points when we had to. I think it was a physical game on both sides and we did what we needed to do to hang in there.”

(Have you ever had a QB drop a punt on the 1-yard line?) “I don’t know about that. That was pretty good. Getting back to special team, we had one earlier (punt downed inside the 2) by Tristan, and then Jake got one. When you play in tight games like that, 99 yards — those really matter. So that was good.”

(How often does Browning practice that?) “We practice it. He’ll practice it every week. … Those guys get so much individual (work), half the time they’re looking for things to do. They can’t just throw and throw and throw, so they’ll spend time each week punting a little bit.”

(You’re a young team — how much do you see that this team has matured the past two months?) “I think each week is a new test, and I just like it when they answer hard tests. They come out and they’ve been ready to play and we’ve started fast and got a good momentum going. So that’s all fun. That’s fun and that’s nice. And I do like it when we get in these hard situations and you have to find a way — I think that’s going to give us some confidence down the road.”