Friday, November 18, 2011

Huskies hoping to snap two game losing streak as they take on Beavers

By Kshell

The Washington Huskies(6-4,4-3) travel down to Corvallis to take on the Oregon State Beavers(2-8,2-5) hoping to snap a two game losing streak this year. Last year the Huskies snapped a six game losing streak to the Beavers 35-34 in double overtime as Jake Locker threw five touchdown passes including four to Jermaine Kearse. The Beavers like they did in 1998 decided to go for two and the win came up short. That game proved the difference between the Huskies going to a bowl game and the Beavers not going just like in 1998. Now the Huskies are taking on a struggling Beavers team suffering their worst season in the Mike Riley era as this has been a trying season for the Beavers. Riley has made a quarterback switch this year. Riley is going with the youth movement as the Beavers are starting a freshman quarterback.

The Beavers are led by their freshman quarterback Sean Mannion who has completed 64.3% of his passes for 2,694 yards(6.8 YPA) with 11 touchdowns to 15 interceptions. His favorite target is Markus Wheaton who has 64 receptions for 822 yards but only one touchdown. James Rodgers is healthy this year and has 41 receptions for 470 yards with two touchdowns. The Beavers leading rusher this year is Malcolm Agnew who has rushed for 419 yards(4.7 YPC) with five touchdowns. The Beavers are just a bad team overall though as they rank 119th in rushing yards with just 87.8 a game, 105th in scoring offense at 20.3 points per game and 85th in defense at 30 points per game. They have suffered an embarassing loss to begin the season to D-1AA Sacramento State and their season has gone downhill ever since. The Beavers are also ranked 11th out of 12 teams in the Pac-12 in rushing defense which isn't very good considering Chris Polk is on the Huskies.

The Huskies will be looking to exploit the Beavers weak rushing defense. The Huskies will also see redshirt freshman Nick Montana make his first career start this Saturday. Look for Sarkisian to feature the run against a Beavers defense that ranks 11th out of 12 teams in the conference in rushing yards allowed. The Huskies feature Polk who has ran for 1,132 yards(5.2 YPC) with 10 rushing touchdowns. Last year against the Beavers Polk ran for 94 yards on 25 carries(3.8 YPC) with two receptions for 29 yards. The previous year down in Corvallis Polk ran for 116 yards on 19 carries(6.1 YPC) with two receptions for 11 yards. The one thing Polk hasn't done is rush for a touchdown against the Beavers. Polk will probably share some of the load which will feature the run with Jesse Callier who has ran for 198 yards(5.2 YPC) with a touchdown on the season as well as Bishop Sankey who has rushed for 175 yards(6.7 YPC) with a touchdown. The Huskies will ease their young quarterback in his first start by pounding the ball most would think.

The man of the week as the son of Joe Montana Nick Montana will be making his first career start. Montana has appeared in four games off the bench in either mop up duty or in the case of the Oregon game to fill in for injury. Montana on the season is 13-20(65.0%) for 147 yards(7.4 YPA) with a touchdown and an interception. With a full week to prepare I imagine Montana should be fine. Jermaine Kearse who has slumped recently has 36 receptions for 429 yards with six touchdowns. Last year against the Beavers Kearse caught four touchdown passes including the game tying touchdown then the game winning touchdown. Devin Aguilar has 31 receptions for 466 yards with three touchdowns. Then lately the emerging Kasen Williams who has 25 receptions for 280 yards with four touchdowns. Williams and Montana appear to have a good chemistry. Look for tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins to factor into this game as he has 26 receptions for 377 yards with four touchdowns on the year.

In conclusion, the Huskies are playing an opponent that has been blown out three straight games and is already looking forward to next season. The Huskies should take care of business as they are looking to win their seventh regular season game for the first time since 2002. The Huskies are looking for their first win down in Corvallis since 2003. The Huskies although starting a new quarterback have plenty of weapons and should be just fine against the Beavers. Sarkisian needs to remember to feed the ball to Polk and the Huskies will win this game pretty easily. The Huskies have a chance to close out the season strong it's just a matter of will they?

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