Friday, September 14, 2012
Washington takes on Portland State for first ever meeting
This Saturday the Portland State Vikings(1-1,0-1) travel to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies(1-1,0-0) for the first time ever. The Vikings are led by third year head coach Nigel Burton who led the Vikings to their first winning season since 2006 when he guided the Vikings to a 7-4 record last year. Burton is a former Husky for those who don't know as I talked about him yesterday as he is facing his old team. Burton was a big part of the Huskies upset win in 1996 over BYU who was led by quarterback Steve Sarkisian. Now Sarkisian has a chance to get even with Burton and more important turn this season around. The Huskies are at their lowest point in the Sarkisian era fresh off of a 41-3 defeat to #3 LSU Tigers as injuries on the offensive line continue to add up. The Huskies will have a challenge stopping the Vikings run which under Burton runs the pistol attack.
Meanwhile the Washington Huskies are finding out that life after Chris Polk has been a lot more difficult transition than life without Jake Locker last year. Last week the Huskies as a team ran for 26 yards on 24 carries(1.1 YPC). Bishop Sankey so far this year has been terrible as has his offensive line. For the year Sankey has 82 yards rushing on 30 carries(2.7 YPC) with a touchdown and a fumble in the red zone. He has four receptions for 30 yards this year. With Sankey struggling the Huskies could give some carries to Erich Wilson who this year has ran for 47 yards on just six carries(7.8 YPC). The Huskies must find a way to run the ball or quarterback Keith Price will get killed back there. If the Huskies can't run the ball effectively against an FCS school then they aren't running the ball at all this year. Look for Sarkisian to try and get the run game going so the Huskies have some positive momentum heading into what is shaping up to be the biggest game of his career when the Huskies host Stanford on September 27th on a Thursday.
With all due respect to Portland State this game isn't about them. This game is about the Washington Huskies finding their offensive identity as they try to head into Pac-12 play with some momentum. The disaster down in LSU counts as only one loss and if the Huskies can regain their confidence back going 2-1 into conference play that is all anyone could have asked for. The Vikings will have upset on their mind as the Eastern Washington Eagles who the Vikings defeated last year nearly defeated the Huskies last year and the Washington State Cougars last week. This is a big opportunity for Burton to showcase himself as a head coach to his former school and throughout the country. With that said this shouldn't be a close game and if the Huskies have any ounce of pride they'll destroy the Vikings in the first half. The Huskies must find their offensive identity soon as they face four straight ranked opponents after this week. Should be a fun one Saturday afternoon as the Vikings take on the Huskies for the first time ever.