Friday, October 28, 2011

Huskies look to bounce back against Wildcats

By Kshell

The Washington Huskies(5-2,3-1) are set to host the Arizona Wildcats(2-5,1-4) in a game that would appear to be a blowout looking at the record. However the Huskies fresh off of getting blown out 65-21 at Stanford while the Wildcats won 48-12 last week against UCLA. The Wildcats also smashed the Huskies 44-14 last year with their backup quarterback. Much of the talk surrounding this game has been focused on the Huskies defense mainly Nick Holt. The Huskies defense has been in the news after the latest disaster are allowing 33 points a game. The Wildcats have done pretty well against the Huskies as they are 3-1 against the Huskies the last four years averaging 43.2 points per game against the Huskies although two of those games were against Tyrone Willingham. The Huskies will be facing an explosive Wildcats offense so this year should be another high scoring game.

The Wildcats offense is led by senior quarterback Nick Foles. Despite the 2-5 record Foles is having a terrific season completing 70.9% of his passes for 2,546 yards(8.0 YPA) with 18 touchdowns to five interceptions. Foles didn't play against the Huskies last year but he has played in Husky Stadium before. In a 36-33 loss which he threw game winning interception that went for a touchdown Foles played pretty well that game for the most part. Foles was 39-53(73.6%) for 384 yards(7.2 YPA) with a touchdown and two interceptions in the final moments of the game. Foles has plenty of receivers to throw to this season. The Wildcats have eight players with double digit receptions, eight over 100 yards receiving and four guys with over 30 receptions and 300 yards receiving. The leading receiver for the Wildcats is Dan Buckner who has 36 receptions for 541 yards(15.0 YPC) with two touchdowns. The next leading receiver is Juron Criner who has 36 receptions for 441 yards(12.2 YPC) with six touchdowns. The Wildcats running game isn't bad either led by Keola Antolin who has rushed for 351 yards(5.0 YPC) with three touchdowns. The Wildcats offense this season is averaging 30.2 points per game so look for them to score plenty of points on the Huskies defense.

The Huskies will be having a "black out" this Saturday night. The Huskies are 2-0 all-time when wearing the black uniforms so look for the crowd to be jacked up. The defense led by team captains and seniors Alameda Ta'amu and Cort Dennison must rally the defense to record some stops. The Huskies defense has to contain the Wildcats offense so their own offense can be balance. The Huskies rushing attack led by Chris Polk who has rushed for 844 yards(5.7 YPC) with five touchdowns can only be effective if the game is close. The Huskies will be playing a warm weather team at home in late October at night where the weather looks to be pretty bad. Look for the Huskies to rely on Polk some to control the clock plus the Wildcats allow 173.3 yards rushing per game. The Wildcats are also last in allowing passing yardage at 290.9 yards per game so look for the Huskies to exploit that as well.

The Huskies passing game also got a nice bonus when the Wildcats top cornerback Shaquille Richardson along with three other secondary players were suspended this game. Richardson and the Wildcats top nickel corner are suspended the whole game for fighting against UCLA while Richardson's backup along with a backup safety is suspended for the first half. The Huskies passing game which is already good going against an already bad Wildcats secondary should have a field day. The passing offense is led by sophomore quarterback Keith Price who is completing 68.4% of his passes for 1,713 yards(8.3 YPA) with 22 touchdowns to just five interceptions. Price has plenty of options too as the Huskies have six guys in double figures in receptions(another with nine receptions) with four over 300 yards receiving. The Huskies leading receiver is Devin Aguilar who has 26 receptions for 401 yards(15.4 YPC) with three touchdowns. Next is Jermaine Kearse who has been dropping passes lately but still has 27 receptions for 336 yards(12.4 YPC) with six touchdowns. James Johnson is also have a nice season with 25 receptions for 314 yards(12.6 YPC) with three touchdowns. The Huskies also have talented tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins who has 20 receptions for 321 yards(16.0 YPC) with four touchdowns. The Huskies offense should have no problem scoring points on the Wildcats defense just a matter of can their own defense stop the Wildcats?

In conclusion, this is a huge game for the Huskies as they look to be bowl eligible in October for the first time since 2001. The Huskies are trying to be 6-2 and 4-1 in conference play for the first time since 2001 as well. For all the talk about firing Holt that talk can be suspended for a week with a win right here. Steve Sarkisian has plenty of weapons on offense to exploit a weak Wildcats defense so this should be a high scoring game that will remind fans of the WAC days in the 1990's which Sarkisian excelled in while playing for BYU. A loss here could spell doom for the season as the Huskies take on the Oregon Ducks and the USC Trojans in consecutive weeks. The Huskies who are 4-0 at home should be just fine against a Wildcats team who is 0-3 on the road this season. Look for the Huskies offense to be unstoppable while the defense led by Dennison and Ta'amu make just enough plays for the Huskies to come away with the victory.

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