Friday, November 4, 2011

Washington Huskies take on their bitter rivals Oregon Ducks

By Kshell

The Washington Huskies (6-2,4-1) take on the #6 Oregon Ducks(7-1,5-0) in the final game at old Husky Stadium. The Ducks recently have had  the Huskies number winning seven in a row which were all by 20 points. Last year the Ducks won 53-16 and Steve Sarkisian has yet to see his Huskies score 20 points in a game against the Ducks. In fact the Huskies offense hasn't scored more than 20 points against the Ducks defense since 2007. The roles in this rivalry has shifted for 80 years the Ducks were hoping to become what the Huskies were. Now the Huskies are hoping to become what the Ducks are. This game will feature plenty of offense as the Ducks are averaging 47.5 points a game good for fourth overall in the nation. While the Huskies are averaging 35.6 points per game which is good for 26th in the nation. This game will have plenty of fireworks in front of the greatest defense in Pac-10 history as the 1991 Washington Huskies are going to be honored before the game.

The Oregon Ducks offense bread and butter is their running game which features plenty of threats. Leading the way is heisman finalist LaMichael James who has rushed for 905 yards(8.4 YPC) with eight touchdowns. James has been banged up which hasn't hurt the Ducks offense at all as Kejon Barner has filled in rushing for 560 yards(7.1 YPC) with seven touchdowns. You also have the dangerous DeAnthony Thomas who has rushed for 340 yards(8.5 YPC) with four touchdowns. He has also caught 25 passes for 382 yards(15.3 YPC) with six touchdowns. The Ducks also have a quarterback controversy but both have played well is why. Darron Thomas who led them to the national title game last year this season has completed 61.4% of his passes for 1,380 yards(8.5 YPA) with 18 touchdowns to five interceptions. He has also rushed for 108 yards with two touchdowns. His backup quarterback Bryan Bennett has made one start this year and filled in nicely in two other Pac-12 games. Bennett has completed 53.3% of his passes for 361 yards(8.02 YPA) with six touchdowns and no interceptions. He has also ran for 190 yards on the season. The Huskies has to do a better job stopping the run than they did against Stanford or Nebraska. The Huskies offense features a powerful unit as well which will have to match the Ducks offense score for score.

For the Huskies their passing offense has been terrific this year led by Keith Price. Price, last season made his first career start at Autzen stadium on the road. So this will be the first team Price will have ever started against twice. For the year Price has completed 66.5% of his passes for 1,990 yards(8.4 YPA) with 23 touchdowns to eight interceptions. Price has plenty of receivers to throw the ball to. Seniors Devin Aguilar has 28 receptions for 427 yards with three touchdowns while Jermaine Kearse has 31 receptions for 395 yards with six touchdowns. Kearse also has ran for 13 yards which includes a touchdown. James Johnson this season 26 receptions for 330 yards with three touchdowns. Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has 21 receptions for 335 yards with four touchdowns. Youngsters Kasen Williams has 14 receptions for 157 yards with two touchdowns and Kevin Smith has 11 receptions for 102 yards. Smith also has ran for 41 yards on just three carries including a touchdown. The Huskies passing attack has been great this season and lately teams have been game planning to stop the pass which means Chris Polk has been running wild.

The last two weeks teams have been game planning to stop Price. Polk has responded rushing for 287 yards with six rushing touchdowns and one receiving. For the year Polk has ran for 1,016 yards(5.6 YPC) with nine touchdowns. He has also caught 18 passes for 249 yards with three touchdowns. Polk recently passed Napoleon Kaufman for most 100 yard rushing games in his career at Washington. He also tied Kaufman for most 1,000 yard rushing seasons with three. Polk has became a receiving threat out of the backfield catching passes that aren't screen passes. The Huskies are 8-0 when Polk carries the ball 25 times or more. This season Polk has ran for over 100 yards in seven of the eight games while scoring a touchdown in seven straight games. Look for Sarkisian to pound Polk to control the clock as the only way teams recently defeat the Ducks is punching them in the mouth by being  physical.

In conclusion, this will be a fun game regardless of the outcome. The Huskies will be honoring their seniors as this will be the last game they'll ever play at Husky Stadium. Then the 1991 National Championship team will be honored as Don James will flip the coin toss. The Huskies more importantly are trying to take back the Northwest which was theirs for the longest time. The Ducks currently own the Northwest and these two schools are constantly recruiting the same type of players. The atmosphere at the game should be electric and the scoreboard operator better be paying attention as both offenses have shown the ability to score mass points. I'm sure Sarkisian will try to grind Polk to control the clock while Price moves the chains on third down. This will be a great game between the Northwest two best schools as both programs are on the way up.

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