Friday, October 21, 2011

#22 Huskies take on #7 Cardinal

By Kshell

The #22 Washington Huskies(5-1,3-0) travel to take on the #7 Stanford Cardinal(6-0,4-0) in a big matchup for the Huskies program. The Huskies who have lost three years in a row to the Cardinal including last year where they lost 41-0 at home for their first home shutout since 1976. The Huskies are hoping to put up a much better showing than they have the last two years which they have been outscored 75-14.Under third year coach Steve Sarkisian the Huskies have ended some long losing streaks against other conference opponents while the Cardinal seem to have the Huskies number. This game will feature two terrific offenses which I'll focus on in this upcoming preview although the Cardinal feature a defense that doesn't allow too many points either.

The Cardinal offense is led by heisman favorite Andrew Luck. For the season Luck is completing 71.3% of his passes for 1,719 yards(9.5 YPA) with 18 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Luck's main targets are tight end Coby Fleener who has 16 receptions for 383 yards(23.9 YPC) with six touchdowns already. He also has Chris Owusu who has 25 receptions for 309 yards(12.4 YPC) with two touchdowns. Zach Ertz and Griff Whalen each have 20 receptions. For Ertz he has 279 yards receiving(14.0 YPC) with three touchdowns while Whalen has 269(13.4 YPC) with one touchdown.The Cardinals are an offense averaging 45.8 points per game while only allowing 11.2 per game. They are a balance offense which features in the ground game Stepfan Taylor who has rushed for 547 yards(5.4 YPC) with five touchdowns. His backup Tyler Gaffney has rushed for 133 yards(5.1 YPC) with four touchdowns and Anthony Wilkerson has 119(4.2 YPC) yards with a touchdown. The Cardinal are a balanced team with 18 passing touchdowns to 15 rushing touchdowns they can beat you more ways than one. That is why it is important for the Huskies offense to match them score for score.

The Huskies have an explosive offense as well which is averaging 37 points per game. I'll start with the passing attack which is led by Keith Price who has completed 69.4% of his passes for 1,466 yards(8.6 YPA) with 21 touchdowns to just four interceptions. Price has thrown for at least three touchdown passes in every game. The Huskies have plenty of weapons on offense who are catching Price's passes. Let's start with senior wide receiver Jermaine Kearse who has been coming off after a slow start to the season. Kearse for the year has 23 receptions for 284 yards(12.3 YPC) with six touchdowns. Senior Devin Aguilar is having a nice year as well with 21 receptions for 330 yards(15.7 YPC) with three touchdowns. What has also helped the Huskies passing attack is the emergence of junior wide receiver James Johnson who has 22 receptions for 287 yards(13.0 YPC) with three touchdowns. Freshman sensantion tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins also has 15 receptions for 244 yards(16.3 YPC) with four touchdowns. The Huskies have so many weapons on offense that when teams try to stop the pass the Huskies still have plenty of options in the run game.

The Huskies feature one of the best running games in the entire nation. They are led by Chris Polk who has rushed for 711 yards(5.3 YPC) with three touchdowns. Polk has also caught 11 passes for 142(12.9 YPC) with two touchdowns. Polk this season has already rushed for over 100 yards in five of his teams six games and the game he didn't rush for 100 yards he had 85 yards receiving. Polk has two solid backups in Jesse Callier who has rushed for 164 yards off the bench for 5.5 YPC with a touchdown on the season. The Huskies also have talented freshman running back Bishop Sankey who has rushed for 89 yards(6.4 YPC) with a touchdown this season as well. The Huskies will have plenty of offense to make this into a game as they try to revenge their embarassing 41-0 loss from last season.

In conclusion, this is the biggest game for the Washington Huskies in close to a decade. For Sarkisian a win here can put this program back on the map for the national scale. The Huskies are playing on national t.v and have a chance to make a resounding statement to the rest of the nation. For the Cardinal they are in national title or bust mode. The Cardinal know they have dominated the Huskies the last two years but they also know the Huskies are a much different team. This should be a fun game and for the Huskies you dream of games like this. The Huskies have a chance to position themselves to go to the Rose Bowl this season. You have two terrific offenses going at it so look for a ton of scoring in this great Pac-12 matchup on ABC.

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