Friday, September 23, 2011

Huskies look to win three in a row against Cal

By Kshell

The Washington Huskies(2-1) open up Pac-12 play this Saturday at home against the California Golden Bears(3-0). The Huskies after struggling against California for a short period have won three out of four games against the Bears. Last year I talked about the series between these two schools while featuring the 2009 game which saw Sarkisian win on senior night. Last year the Huskies played a must win game for both schools to keep their bowl hopes alive. The game ended when Chris Polk scored on fourth and goal from the one yard line with no time left for the Huskies to win 16-13 after trailing 13-10. The Cal Bears haven't forgotten those two horrible losses to the Huskies and will be looking for some revenge. The Bears come into this game 3-0 although haven't played a tough schedule. While the Huskies are coming into this game with their six game winning streak snapped as they lost to Nebraska last week 51-38 in a game which has fans questioning Nick Holt's job. The Huskies are playing in a very important game as California is a conference game but now a divisional game. The Huskies are also at home which makes this game even more critical going forward.

The California Golden Bears enter this game 3-0 with wins over Fresno State 36-21, on the road in overtime against Colorado 36-33 and then again at home against Presbyterian 63-12. The Bears have had to do a face lift as they lost their quarterback and running back from last season. This year the Bears are led by lefty quarterback Zach Maynard who is 49-95(51.6%) passing for 724 yards(7.6 YPA) with nine touchdowns to three interceptions. Maynard not much of a threat to run but has busted a 43 yard run this year. His main receiver is Keenan Allen who has 20 receptions for 301 yards(15.0 YPC) with two touchdowns and Marvin Jones who has 17 receptions for 296 yards(17.4 YPC) with three touchdowns. When the Bears decide to run the ball they'll hand the ball off to Isi Sofele who has ran for 260 yards(4.2 YPC) with four touchdowns. The Bears will be looking to exploit a Huskies defense that is allowing 36.6 points per game. The Huskies defense so far has shown they can't stop the pass or stop the run which has to make Bears fans happy about this matchup. Despite losing three of the last four meetings Jeff Tedford is 6-3 all-time against the Huskies.

The Huskies enter this contest with as explosive offense as anyone in the conference not named Oregon. The Huskies put up 38 points on the road in Nebraska even though Nebraska has three projected first round picks on defense. The Huskies are led by sophomore quarterback Keith Price who is 56-87(64.4%) for 691 yards passing(7.9 YPA) with a nation leading 11 touchdown passes to three interceptions. Price likes to spread the ball around to his receivers. The Huskies have five guys who are capable of making a big play in the passing game. The Huskies are led by Jermaine Kearse who had the big 43 yard catch in last year's game winning drive. Kearse on the season has 8 receptions for 107 yards(13.4 YPC) with four touchdowns. The Huskies leading receiver though is Devin Augilar who has 11 receptions for 181 yards(16.5 YPC) with a touchdown. James Johnson has returned from last year's disappointing season with 12 receptions for 155 yards(12.9 YPC) with three touchdowns. The Huskies also have tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins who has five receptions for 116 yards(23.2 YPC) with a touchdown. The Huskies are licking their chops in the passing game after seeing Colorado throw for over 400 yards against California. The Huskies still have a great rushing game in Chris Polk who has ran for 357 yards(5.3 YPC) with two touchdowns. The Huskies should be able to score points on the California defense and the Huskies defense has held the Bears to just one combined touchdown the last two meetings. This is a big game though with some tough games left on the schedule the Huskies can't afford to drop this game.

In conclusion, from here on out these are all big games for the Huskies. The Huskies are playing a team in which they should beat at home. This won't be a cakewalk like some fans may think because California doesn't quit in September they wait until November to do that. California will always have talented players on their roster as well and Tedford is still a quality offensive mind. The Huskies defense was lit up by Nebraska but they were also lit up to Eastern Washington and Hawaii two schools who are combined 1-5 on the season. We all know the Huskies offense can score with the best of them but that won't matter if the defense continues to allow the other team to score points. This should be a fun contest this Saturday in a game which the Huskies should win. California has already shown they struggle against the pass so look for Keith Price to have a big day. Look for the Huskies defense to play a little bit better as well. The Huskies are looking to beat California for the third straight year as Sarkisian hasn't lost to California since 2003.

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