Smalls said the defense still is confident, and Kelly agreed, adding that confidence isn’t likely to wane from game to game.
“Our confidence is always going to be there,” Kelly said. “It’s important to flush last week’s game. We have to move on to next week, get ready for the next game. ... I don’t think the confidence will fall off from that. If it does, the season comes so fast that could be an issue. We’re aware of that.”
Utah will be only the second Pac-12 opponent the Huskies have faced. NIU lost, 67-28, at Oregon State in 1996.
Last week, Carey said facing Iowa means facing a lot of familiar faces, as it is anytime a Mid-American Conference school plays a Big Ten school, given the overlap in geography between the two conferences.
This time around, he said, it’s the opposite – he doesn’t really know much about the Utes heading into the game.
“So it’s super exciting Utah’s coming in,” Carey said. “It’s a great program. But I’m a little hesitant cause I don’t know a ton about them. But that’s exciting, too. You just go out and play and let it all hang loose. So that certainly adds to the excitement.”
Carey said he was hoping for a big crowd Saturday.
“When this place is packed, it’s as good a home-field advantage as I’ve been around in the country,” Carey said. “I know it’s only 23, 24,000 max, but it’s loud, it’s on top of you – we have a good atmosphere. ... For it to be packed Saturday would be a big plus.”
Whittingham said big crowd or small crowd doesn’t really matter.
“The players tune out the opposing crowd regardless of where you are at,” he said, “so that is just something that I don’t think will be a big factor.”