Friday, November 23, 2012

#25 Huskies look to win four in a row vs struggling Cougars

By Kshell

This week the #25 Washington Huskies(7-4,5-3) travel to take on their cross state rivals the Washington State Cougars(2-9,0-8) in their annual Apple Cup meeting. The Huskies lead the all-time series with the Cougars 67-31-6 and have won the last three contests all coached by Steve Sarkisian. While the Cougars coach Mike Leach who is having a rough first season in Pullman will be coaching his first Apple Cup. These two programs are going in different directions as the Huskies have won four games in a row looking to win five in a row for the first time in one season since 2000. While the Cougars are suffering a disaster season under Leach. The Cougars have lost eight games in a row and their star receiver Marquess Wilson quit the team two weeks ago. In this game though if the Cougars beat the Huskies that will make their season while the Huskies are trying to win eight games for the first time since 2001.

The Huskies offense has been playing well the last two weeks due to the improved play of Keith Price. This will be Price second apple cup game. Last year in the 38-21 win over the Cougars Price was 21-29(72.4%) passing for 291 yards(10.0 YPA) with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Price is also coming off of a career high five touchdown passes last week vs Colorado Buffaloes.

For the year Price is 223-359(62.1%) passing for 2,290 yards(6.4 YPA) with 16 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He has also ran in a touchdown. The Cougars passing defense has allowed 248-374 passing(66.3%) for 2,952 yards (7.9 YPA) with 24 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. Look for Price to continue his hot streak as he has been playing great the last two weeks.

For the Cougars they'll be going with Jeff Tuel who played against the Huskies in the 35-28 loss back in 2010. In that game Tuel was 25-35(71.4%) passing for 298 yards(8.5 YPA) with three touchdown passes to one interception. He also ran for 25 yards with a touchdown.

This year Tuel has split time with Connor Halliday. Tuel on the year is 178-279(63.8%) passing for 1,737 yards(6.2 YPA) with eight touchdowns to six interceptions. Halliday who won't play on the year was 152-291(52.2%) passing for 1,878 yards(6.5 YPA) with 15 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. The Cougars rely on their passing attack as their rushing attack has been non existent this year.

With sacks counting against teams rushing totals the Cougars this year have ran for only 330 yards on 228 carries(1.5 YPC) with three touchdowns. The Cougars two main rushers are Teondray  Caldwell who has ran for 262 yards on 53 carries(4.9 YPC). He has also caught 12 passes for 49 yards(4.1 YPC) on the year.

The other back is Carl Winston who last year in the Apple Cup loss ran for only 20 yards on six carries(3.3 YPC). This year he has ran for only 253 yards on 73 carries(3.5 YPC) with two touchdowns. He has also caught 12 passes for 63 yards(5.3 YPC). The Cougars rushing game has been non existent while their counter parts have a strong rushing attack.

What has to hurt the Cougars lack of a running game is that the Huskies have a strong running game led by Bishop Sankey. Sankey who was a Cougar commit decided at the last minute to go to the Huskies instead. Last year he didn't play in the Apple Cup and will be playing in his first career Apple Cup against the school he snubbed.

Sankey on the year has ran for 1,150 yards on 233 carries(4.9 YPC) with 13 touchdowns. He has also caught 27 passes for 175 yards(6.5 YPC). His backup Kendyl Taylor is a nice change of pace back as he has ran for 206 yards on 33 carries(6.2 YPC). He has also caught 13 passes for 99 yards(7.6 YPC) with a touchdown. The Cougars rush defense isn't very strong as they have allowed 1,884 yards rushing on 457 attempts(4.1 YPC) with 19 touchdowns. The Huskies have had four straight years with a 100 yard rusher against the Cougars.

The Huskies receiving group is led by Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Last year against the Cougars Williams had a breakout game. The true freshman caught five passes for 74 yards(14.8 YPC) with two touchdowns. He also had a memorable leap over a Cougar defender. That big game led way to a big season for Williams this year as he has caught 63 passes for 700 yards(11.1 YPC) with six touchdowns.

While Seferian-Jenkins last year in his first Apple Cup caught four passes for 62 yards(15.5 YPC). This year Seferian-Jenkins has caught 58 passes for 751 yards(12.9 YPC) with five touchdowns. The Huskies last couple of years have had other receivers step up as well. Jaydon Mickens the true freshman on the year has 18 receptions for 178 yards(9.9 YPC) with his first career touchdown last week. He has also ran for 26 yards on three carries. DiAndre Campbell has caught 12 passes for 125 yards(10.4 YPC) with two touchdowns. Senior Cody Bruns has caught 11 passes for 84 yards(7.6 YPC) with a touchdown. The Cougars will look to make someone else beat them this year. Last year going into the game they tried to stop Jermaine Kearse from killing them as he destroyed them the previous two years which allowed the freshman Williams to have a break through game. Look for Mickens or Bruns to step up with a career game this Friday.

The Cougars receivers took a hit when Marquess Wilson quit the team. Last year against the Huskies Wilson caught seven passes for 108 yards(15.4 YPC) with two touchdowns. For this season Wilson had caught 52 passes for 813 yards(15.6 YPC) with five touchdowns in only nine games.

The other Cougar receivers are true freshman Gabe Marks who has caught 47 passes for 547 yards(11.6 YPC) with two touchdowns. Brett Bartolone has caught 49 passes for 407 yards(8.3 YPC) with four touchdowns. Dominique Williams who has stepped up in Wilson's absence in only seven games has caught 26 passes for 403 yards(15.5 YPC) with three touchdowns. Bobby Ratliff has caught 27 passes for 377 yards(14.0 YPC) in only seven games. Isiah Myers in eight games has caught 38 passes for 391 yards(10.3 YPC) with four touchdowns. The Cougars will throw the ball all over the place and will try and test the talented Huskies secondary.

The Huskies rank 9th in the nation against the pass this year which is led by senior Desmond Trufant who is the brother of Marcus Trufant. Unlike his brother Marcus who was 0-4 in apple cup games Desmond is 3-0 in the apple cup. Last year with the Huskies leading 31-21, the Cougars tried a flea flicker to Wilson when Trufant tipped the pass straight to Sean Parker for a momentum changing interception.

Opposing quarterbacks are 157-302(51.9%) passing for 1,917 yards(6.3 YPA) with 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The Huskies have recorded 22 sacks on the season while the Cougars have allowed 52 sacks(4.7 a game) on the season. The Huskies secondary will be tested all game as they hardly run the ball. You have a battle between a top 10 passing offense against a top 10 passing defense. For Trufant this will be his final Apple Cup and like Sankey his presence on the Huskies sideline has to kill Cougar fans. Trufant unlike his brother decided to come to the Huskies in Sarkisian's first every recruiting class at Washington. Trufant who will be playing on Sunday's next year has two more games left in his Husky career. For him to go out a perfect 4-0 in Apple Cups would be a nice end to his great Husky career so far.

In the last three years Steve Sarkisian is 3-0 against the Cougars. In fact he has never trailed the Cougars in his three years as Huskies head coach. In his first year the Huskies shut out the Cougars for the first time since 1964 30-0 in 2009. In his second year the Huskies blew a 28-14 lead only to see Locker hit Kearse for the game winning touchdown to 35-28 in 2010 to clinch their first bowl game since 2002. Then last year the Huskies won 38-21 behind Price and Chris Polk. Sarkisian has a chance to join Don James and Rick Neuheisel as Husky coaches who began their career going 4-0 against the Cougars. The Huskies are heavy favorites heading into this game and know what is at stake. A win would give the program their 8th win which they haven't done since 2001.

The Huskies are playing their best ball right now while the Cougars have been blown out in the first half in their last three games. The Cougars will be at home and for them a win over the Huskies would salvage a terrible season. With a win here Leach's first year would win over some fans and make this year a success for the Cougars. If the Huskies win and if the win is a blowout this could put some real heat on Leach. Leach has had a disaster first year going 2-9 so far and with a loss would go 2-10 clinching the Cougars 50th loss in the last five years. The Cougars are 11-49 and 4-40 in conference since 2008. This is a game the Huskies should win easily as the talent gap is too great. I expect a somewhat close first half where the Huskies lead then in the second half the Huskies pull away. The programs are just going in different directions once again as the Huskies program appears to be getting better while the Cougars program appears to be getting worse.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Price throws record setting 5 TD's as #25 Huskies throttle Buffaloes 38-3

By Kshell

It was a tale of two programs going in completely opposite directions. The #25 Washington Huskies(7-4, 5-3) know all too well what the Colorado Buffaloes(1-10,1-7) are going through as they went 0-12 back in 2008. Now the Huskies are ranked and heading towards their third straight bowl appearance. The Huskies unlike last season are being led this year by their defense which has held their opponents to under 20 points this year in all seven wins this year.

This game was a blowout for the Huskies like last week was due to the play of Keith Price. Price who had a record breaking year last year has struggled this season. Well today Price found his magic once again as he tied a school record with five touchdown passes with Chris Rowland in 1973 and Jake Locker in 2010(in overtime).  Price was doing what he did best last year which was spreading the ball around as five different receivers caught those five touchdown passes. Three of those five that was their first career touchdown reception including one by fifth year senior Cody Bruns. The Huskies also dominated this game on the ground as Bishop Sankey went over 100 yards rushing for 139 yards. Overall Steve Sarkisian was pretty pleased as the Huskies enjoyed their biggest road win of the Sarkisian era and biggest conference win of the Sarkisian era.

The game started off sloppy for both teams filled with penalties and turnovers. The Buffaloes Connor Wood was making his first career start and it was a rough one. He was three for six passing for only 11 yards as he was intercepted twice by Shaq Thompson and later by Sean Parker as he was pulled. However the Huskies couldn't take advantage as Price missed an open Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a touchdown. Then Travis Coons would miss a 31 yard field goal. On another drive Bishop Sankey would fumble on the Buffaloes one yard line.

After a 13 yard punt return by Cody Bruns the Huskies took over from their own 35 yard line. Price was immediately dropped for a sack making it second and 19 from the 26 yard line. Price would finally go down field as he found his favorite wide receiver Kasen Williams for a gain of 25 yards for the first down. After two short runs facing a third and seven Price would hit DiAndre Campbell for a gain of six yards. Setting up a fourth and one from the Buffaloes 40 yard line. Sarkisian would go for it as Sankey ran for eight yards to the 32 yard line. Price then connected with Sankey over the middle for a gain of 12 yards. On the next play he would hit Campbell to the right for a gain of 14 yards down to the six yard line. Kendyl Taylor would rush for three yards down to the three setting up second and goal from the three. Price on play action would hit Bruns who dove into the end zone. For Bruns who is the states all-time touchdown receptions leader in high school history that was his first career touchdown reception as the Huskies led 7-0 going into halftime.

The Huskies would begin the second half by going three and out. Coons who had missed a field goal then fumbled a snap punted the ball. The ball would hit off of a Buffaloes blocker making it a live ball. Huskies junior wide receiver Kevin Smith would race to the sidelines before the ball goes out of bounds to save the ball. Smith would fly into the sidelines throwing the ball back into play as Huskies safety Will Shamburger receoverd the fumble at the Colorado 35. That play appeared to give the Huskies a spark and they wouldn't look back the rest of the game.

From the 34 yard line on second and nine Price would hit Bruns down the middle for a gain of 17 yards as he stepped up into the pocket. On first and 10 from the 17 yard line Price would hit Kasen Williams over the middle for a wide open 17 yard touchdown to give the Huskies a 14-0 lead over the Buffaloes. With the way the Huskies defense was shutting down the Buffaloes that 14-0 lead felt more like 50-0 as the Huskies were in cruise control after that. Also for Price he was starting to get into a groove like he had the previous week against Utah when Price had his first good game in over a month.

After getting a first down the Buffaloes were then facing a third and 10 from their own 38 yard line when Josh Shirley came in for the strip sack on quarterback Connor Wood. That is when Seferian-Jenkins who was playing defensive end recovered the fumble at the 24 yard line.

After an incomplete pass Price would throw his third touchdown pass of the day. He would throw a quick wide receiver screen to true freshman Kendyl Taylor who made a man miss then raced down the left sideline as he dove in for his first career receiving touchdown. Taylor who started the year off as the Huskies starting wide receiver has now been converted to running back. At that point the Huskies had led Colorado 21-0.

The Buffaloes finally got on the scoreboard after a 59 yard kickoff return and a penalty. The Buffaloes scored on a 37 yard field goal to cut the score to 21-3. After a touchback the Huskies began on their own 25 yard line. Price would immediately hit Williams for a gain of 25 to the 50 yard line. On second and 12 from the 48 yard line Taylor would run for 16 yards to the Buffaloes 36 yard line. Jaydon Mickens on the fly sweep would rush for 20 yards down to the 16 yard line. After a penalty the Huskies were facing a third and 18 from the 24 yard line. Price was about to get sacked instead did a shovel pass to Sankey for a gain of 20 yards. Unfortunately for the Huskies they would have to settle for a field goal. Travis Coons this time would make the 25 yard field goal to give the Huskies a 24-3 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Huskies defense would three and out the Buffaloes with two sacks by Travis Feeney and Josh Shirley. Starting from their own 34 yard line they pounded the rock. Sankey would rush for six yards then for two more. Facing third and two from their own 42 yard line Sankey would rush for five yards to the Huskies 47 yard line. Sankey on the next play would rush up the middle for 40 yards to the Buffaloes 13 yard line. After Taylor ran for three yards he would rush for eight yards to the two yard line. After back to back failed rush attempts the Huskies faced a third and goal from the three yard line. The Huskies called a play action pass as the Buffaloes blitzed all 11 guys as Price was drilled as he lofted the ball high in the air. That is when Seferian-Jenkins came down with the touchdown reception as he got one foot in to give the Huskies a 31-3 lead. For Seferian-Jenkins he would set the Huskies tight end record for most touchdown receptions in a career with that catch.

After another three and out the Huskies took over on their own 34 yard line. On the first play Taylor would rush for his longest run of his career to date busting it 44 yards to the 22 yard line. Taylor would only rush for four yards on the next three carries. Sarkisian decided to go for it on fourth and six from the Buffaloes 18 yard line. Price would deliver a pass over the middle to Jaydon Mickens who dove in for his first career touchdown reception. For Price that pass tied the school record with five touchdown passes in one game. After that the Huskies would force one more turnover as they would win the game 38-3 over the lowly Colorado Buffaloes.

This was a dominant win for the Huskies as they won 38-3. The Huskies out gained the Buffaloes 476-140. The Huskies also forced four turnovers and held the Buffaloes to 10-23 passing for 51 yards with two interceptions. They also recorded five sacks in the game as the defense was flat dominant.

However the story of this game was the play of Keith Price. Price finished 22-29(75.9%) passing for 248 yards(8.6 YPA) with five touchdowns and no interceptions.  He spread the ball around this game as well. His leading receiver was Kasen Williams who caught seven passes for 80 yards(11.4 YPC) with a touchdown. Cody Bruns caught three passes for 33 yards with a touchdown. Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught three passes for 22 yards with a touchdown and had a fumble recovery. DiAndre Campbell caught two passes for 20 yards. While Jaydon Mickens caught an 18 yard touchdown pass and ran for 20 yards on one carry.

Bishop Sankey had a nice game as well. Sankey ran for 139 yards on 23 carries(6.0 YPC). Sankey also caught four passes for 48 yards. Kendyl Taylor had his best game as a Husky rushing for 78 yards on nine carries(8.7 YPC) with a 23 yard touchdown reception. The Huskies saw Marcus Peters and Shaq Thompson record interceptions. While Josh Shirley recorded two sacks and forced a fumble.

The Huskies were reminded first hand how far they've came as a program. Just four years ago they were sitting where Colorado is sitting right now. Those days seem like a distant memory to the Huskies as they have won four games in a row. Now the Huskies will look to win eight games for the first time since the 2001 season. The offense for the second straight week has scored over 30 points after not scoring over 21 points against a Division-1 team all year long. The defense for the seventh time this year has held their opponent to under 20 points. The Huskies are playing their best ball right now as they took it to a team like they should. Sure it was a slow start but at the end of the day the Huskies won by 35 points. Sarkisian couldn't be happier with this group after that 3-4 start they had. The Huskies appear to be rolling in the right direction.


- The terrific season of Bishop Sankey just continues. He ran for 139 yards on 23 carries while catching four passes for 48 yards. He didn't score a touchdown for the first time since the USC game. Sankey started off slow and had a costly red zone fumble but once the game started to get going he was busting long runs.

For the year Sankey has ran for 1,150 yards on 233 carries(4.9 YPC) with 13 touchdowns. He also has caught 27 passes for 175 yards(6.5 YPC). Sankey is only a sophomore has ran for over 100 yards in three straight games. On the season he has ran for over 100 yards in six games while scoring a touchdown in eight games. Sankey has been the MVP of the offense this year and is a big reason why the Huskies are 7-4 right now.

- Nice to see Kendyl Taylor have the breakout game that he did. Taylor ran for 78 yards on only nine carries while catching a 23 yard touchdown pass. Taylor had a big game showing off his speed. Taylor turned a short passing play into a 23 yard touchdown. Then later one ripped off a 44 yard run. In the future Taylor could be a nice do everything type of back that the Huskies have seen out of Jesse Callier the last few seasons.

Taylor on the year now has ran for 206 yards on only 33 carries(6.2 YPC). He has also caught 13 passes for 99 yards(7.6 YPC) with a touchdown. Taylor began the year as the starting wide receiver first few games due to injury. Then Sarkisian moved him to running back to have a quality back up. Taylor has taken advantage of his sparse playing time. Like I said in the future look for him to be more part of the offense. Sarkisian I noticed likes to feature one running back but Taylor could be his jack of all trades type of back that Callier was in 2010. With Callier returning next year I'm curious if the Huskies move Taylor back to receiver or what they do with him. I'm excited to see how Taylor does as he has a bright future for the Huskies.

- One player who has no future with the Huskies is fifth year senior Cody Bruns. Bruns who was a heralded four-star recruit has been a bust so far. However, he's playing his best ball of late. He is only the only member of this team to have actually played on that 0-12 team.

Bruns had a nice game catching three passes for 33 yards with his first career touchdown reception. He also had two punt returns for 13 yards. For the year now Bruns has caught 11 passes for 84 yards(7.6 YPC) with a touchdown. He also has 83 punt return yards on nine attempts(9.2 AVG). I've really become a fan of Bruns for his hard work, never transferring and in a lot of ways has been a success at Washington.

- The Huskies defense was dominate. When the offense was screwing around in the first half the defense made sure the Buffaloes had no chance to get momentum. The Huskies defense allowed only three points all game. Held the Buffaloes to 141 yards of total offense, sacked them five times and forced four turnovers.

The Huskies defense now ranks 29th in total defense, 9th in passing defense, 80th in rushing defense and 36th in scoring defense. The Huskies are a totally different defense than they were last year. All seven wins this year the Huskies defense has allowed less than 20 points. The Huskies haven't seen this type of play from a defense since Jim Lambright was head coach. Justin Wilcox deserves all the credit for this turnaround.

- Shaq Thompson is a big reason for this defense turning around. One play he is intercepting a pass then another is lined up as a defensive end forcing pressure on the quarterback. Thompson now has 58 tackles on the year which is good for fifth on the team and is tied for the team lead with three interceptions. He leads the team with 7.5 tackles for loss as well.

The secondary has played great this year and there is a reason why they are a top 10 defense against the pass in the nation. Last year the Huskies were terrible against the pass. Now with Desmond Trufant as a senior, Sean Parker as a junior, Marcus Peters now starting along with Thompson the secondary is the strength of the Huskies defense.

- Kasen Williams had another terrific game. He had seven receptions for 80 yards with a touchdown. He had two separate 25 yard receptions which was nice seeing Williams making some big plays. Williams has been terrific this year as him and Seferian-Jenkins at times have carried this passing game.

Williams on the year leads the team with 63 receptions for 700 yards(11.1 YPC) which is second on the team. He also leads the team with six touchdown receptions. Williams is having a great sophomore season as the possession receiver who makes plays in the red zone.

- What a game for Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Seferian-Jenkins caught only three passes for 22 yards but he caught a touchdown pass in the process. He also played defense which is never seen in today's game while recovering a fumble during the game. Seferian-Jenkins who is an all-american tight end is playing both ways on defense while also playing significant minutes for a Pac-12 championship basketball team last year.

On the year Seferian-Jenkins is second on the team with 58 receptions for a team leading 751 yards(12.9 YPC) while being second on the team with five touchdowns. Seferian-Jenkins is also the Huskies all-time receptions leader in tight end history with 99. He is the all-time leading receiver in tight end history with 1,295 yards receiving. This game he became the all-time touchdown leader with 11 receiving touchdowns. The Huskies have seen Aaron Pierce, Mark Bruener, Ernie Conwell, Cam Cleeland and Jerramy Stevens pass through the program who went on to the NFL at the tight end positon. For Seferian-Jenkins to shatter all their records speaks to volumes how great of a player he is. For him to also play basketball and then play defensive end shows what an amazing athlete he is as well.

- I couldn't be happier seeing Keith Price playing well these past two weeks. He is spreading the ball around, stepping up into the pocket and going down field. More importantly he isn't turning the ball over at all.

Price this game was great completing 22-29 passes for 248 yards with a school record tying five touchdown passes. Price the last two weeks has thrown for seven touchdown passes with zero interceptions.

For the year now Price is 223-359(62.1%) for 2,290 yards(6.4 YPA) with 16 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He isn't having a great year but with Washington State's poor pass defense looming and a bowl game he could still end up with a good year. Price also has 51 career passing touchdowns which puts him four behind Cody Pickett for the school record. Price has a shot at breaking that record this season and then shatter the record next year for his senior campaign.

- Steve Sarkisian improves to 26-23 as head coach of the Huskies. Sarkisian's program has never looked better including last year when the Huskies were 5-1. The Huskies are winning with defense, good running game and making plays with the pass. They are winning the turnover battle as well. Sarkisian is featuring the run game as the Huskies are 5-1 this year when Sankey has ran for over 100 yards.

Sarkisian deserves credit for turning this program around even if it seems like it's going at a slow pace. Still if the Huskies finish at 8-4 in a tough conference with two of those losses coming to LSU and Oregon while beating Stanford that is progress. Sarkisian as long as he continues to feature the run and stress defense in his recruiting(which he is) the Huskies program should continue to grow.

The Huskies took care of business against a terrible team. Now it's time to do it once again when they take on the Washington State Cougars in the Apple Cup. The Huskies will be double digit favorites on the road yet again as they should be. The Huskies are playing their best ball in over a decade which has been great to see. Price is playing like Price last year while Sankey is making fans forget about Chris Polk. The defense is playing the best they have since the days when Lambright roamed the sidelines. The Huskies are looking good this year and hopefully they can finish this season strong as they've already won four in a row.

Friday, November 16, 2012

#25 Washington Huskies travel to take on struggling Colorado Buffaloes

By Kshell

This week the #25 Washington Huskies(6-4,4-3) travel to take on lowly Colorado Buffaloes(1-9,1-6). The Huskies will try to improve to 7-4 something they haven't been since 2001 when they went 8-4 that season. The Huskies have won three games in a row and are looking to win four in a row in a single season for the first time since ending the 2010 season on a four game winning streak. The Buffaloes on the other hand have only one win this year which was against last place Washington State Cougars where the Buffaloes overcame a 31-13 deficit on the road. The Huskies have only one road win but the Buffaloes have yet to win at home this year. Once two proud programs appear to be going in two completely different directions.

Last year the Huskies killed the Buffaloes 52-24 led by the performance of Keith Price. Against the Buffaloes Price was 21-28(75.0%) passing for 257 yards(9.2 YPA) with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for 11 yards. All four of Price's touchdowns that day were to four different receivers. Three of those four have graduated unfortunately for the Huskies.

This year it has been a different story for Price who is coming off his best game last week. Price on the year is 201-330(60.9%) passing for 2,042 yards(6.2 YPA) with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has also rushed for a touchdown. Price should have a big day tomorrow as Colorado has allowed opposing quarterbacks to go 213-312(68.2%) passing for 2,774 yards(8.9 YPA) with 33 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions.  Look for the 2011 Price to bust out tomorrow.

The Buffaloes will be starting their third different quarterback in Nick Hirschman. Hirschman played against the Huskies last year in the blowout loss as he was four for eight passing(50.0%) for 52 yards(6.5 YPA) as he was sacked twice. Hirschman on the year is 25-42(59.5%) passing for 283 yards(6.7 YPA) with one touchdown and three interceptions. He also suffered a concussion last game so he might not be able to go.

If he can't go then Connor Wood would start. On the year Wood is 18-36(50.0%) for 254 yards(7.1 YPA) with one touchdown and two interceptions. Both have replaced starter Jordan Webb who was 138-249(55.4%) passing for 1,401 yards(5.6 YPA) with eight touchdowns to eight interceptions. The Huskies pass defense led by Desmond Trufant and Shaq Thompson have been stout this year. Opposing teams are 147-279(52.6%) for 1,866 yards(6.7 YPA) with 14 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. Look for the Huskies pass defense to create problems for the Buffaloes struggling quarterback play.

If the Buffaloes are to pull off this upset it will be cause of the ground game. The Buffaloes are led by Christian Powell who this year has ran for 625 yards on 141 carries(4.4 YPC) and seven touchdowns this year. Powell has also caught seven passes for 32 yards(4.6 YPC). His backup is Tony Jones who has rushed for 261 yards on 52 carries(5.0 YPC) with two touchdowns. Jones has 23 receptions for 145 yards(6.3 YPC). Last year against the Huskies Jones ran for 49 yards on 14 carries(3.5 YPC) with two touchdowns.

The Huskies rush defense has been pretty bad this year as they have allowed 1,863 yards rushing on 380 carries(4.9 YPC) with 14 touchdowns. The Huskies rush defense has struggled and teams have been able to run on their defense. If the Buffaloes can get the run game going they might have a shot in this game.

Last year against Colorado was a breakout game for true freshman Bishop Sankey. Sankey ran for his first career touchdown against the Buffaloes. Sankey ran for 71 yards on just eight carries(8.9 YPC) with a touchdown. Last year the Huskies ran for 295 yards on 40 carries(7.4 YPC) with three touchdowns against the Buffaloes.

Look for the Huskies to continue to pound the ball on the Buffaloes as Sankey is having a great year. Sankey has ran for 1,011 yards on 210 carries(4.8 YPC) with 13 touchdowns. He also has 23 receptions for 127 yards(5.5 YPC). His backup Kendyl Taylor has rushed for 128 yards on 24 carries(5.3 YPC) while catching 12 passes for 76 yards(6.3 YPC). The Huskies should pound the ball down the Buffaloes throats as their defense has allowed 2,276 yards rushing on on 384 carries(5.9 YPC) with 25 touchdowns. The Huskies have ran on every opponent this year so look for Sankey to have a big game if not a career high against this Colorado team.

Whoever is starting at quarterback for the Buffaloes their main targets will be wide receiver Nelson Spruce. Spruce this year has 34 receptions for 349 yards(10.3 YPC) with two touchdowns. Another target is Nick Kasa who had 20 receptions for 340 yards(17.0 YPC) with three touchdowns. Tyler McCulloch has caught 26 passes for 334 yards(12.8 YPC) with two touchdowns.

The Buffaloes will have a hard time in the passing game against the Huskies secondary that features Desmond Trufant, Sean Parker and Shaq Thompson who will all someday play in the NFL.

The Huskies receivers are led by tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and wide receiver Kasen Williams. Last year against Colorado Seferian-Jenkins caught three passes for 42 yards(14.0 YPC) with a touchdown. This year Seferian-Jenkins is having a great season catching 55 passes for 729 yards(13.3 YPC) with four touchdowns.

The other main weapon is Kasen Williams who was hurt last year against Colorado and didn't play other than receiving punts. Williams on the year has 56 receptions for 620 yards(11.1 YPC) with five touchdowns. Besides those two another weapon is Jaydon Mickens who finally had a good game last week. Mickens has caught 17 passes for 160 yards(9.4 YPC) as the third leading receiver. DiAndre Campbell who had a touchdown last week has caught 10 passes for 105 yards(10.5 YPC) with two touchdowns. The Huskies passing attack should light up the Buffaloes this week. Look for some of the other receivers to have a break out game as last year Price threw four touchdowns to four different players.

This is a game the Huskies should destroy the Buffaloes. The Huskies are favored by 21 points on the road and for Steve Sarkisian getting a blown out win on the road would go along ways to moving this program forward. If the Huskies were to win they would have won four games in a row heading into the Apple Cup where they should be favored to win. The programs are going in different directions as Colorado seems to be sputtering like the Huskies did in the Tyrone Willingham years while the Huskies program under Sarkisian appears to have turned the corner. Look for a break out game from Price and another terrific game from Sankey. The early start could be a pain for the Huskies but that is no excuse. I see the Huskies winning this game pretty easily and the offense getting some confidence heading into the Apple Cup.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Huskies send seniors out with a 34-15 win over Utah!

By  Kshell

For the third straight season the Washington Huskies(6-4,4-3) are going to a bowl game as they defeated the Utah Utes(4-6, 2-5) 34-15. The Huskies for the fourth straight year under Steve Sarkisian sent their seniors out with a win on senior night. For some of these seniors they started off their career going 0-12. To see them enjoy success at the end of their career has been nice to witness.

 Another great thing to witness was the return of Keith Price who looked like the 2011 Price. Price was the star today completing 24-33 passes for a season high 277 yards with two touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown and most importantly didn't turn the ball over. Price was also helped by the ground game as Bishop Sankey ran for 162 yards on a career high 36 carries with two touchdowns. Sankey also became just the 11th running back in UW history to go over 1,000 yards. During the game for the Huskies Austin Seferian-Jenkins set the Husky career receptions record by a tight end with 96 career receptions. For the Huskies this was easily their best game of the season as they finally got to play a team with a losing record. The Huskies will now head off on the road the next two weeks against two teams who are a combined 3-17.

After two Huskies drives stalled the Utes took over for their second drive of the game from their own 36 yard line. Facing a third and nine freshman quarterback Travis Wilson would throw an incomplete pass. On that play the Huskies were flagged for a personal foul penalty blow to the head which extended the Utes drive to the Huskies 46 yard line. After a gain of zero by John White the Utes would take their first lead over the Huskies in the last two seasons. White would take the hand off and go right up the middle for the 46 yard touchdown. The Utes then did a fake extra point as tight end Jake Murphy ran in the two point conversation to give the Utes an 8-0 lead over the Huskies.

The Huskies offense would stall out the quarter as the Utes led 8-0. Starting the second quarter from their own 32 yard line facing a second and 12 Price would connect over the middle to Seferian-Jenkins for a gain of 17 yards to their own 49 yard line. On the following play on play action Price would throw across field to senior Cody Bruns for a gain of 19 yards to the Utes 32 yard line. Sankey would rush for four yards on the following play. Price would hit Sankey over the middle for a gain of 13 yards down to the Utes 15 yard line. Price would hit Kasen Williams for a gain of three on a quick hitter. Sankey would rush for four yards setting up a third and three from the eight. Price would roll to his right then find Williams who made an incredible diving catch dragging both feet while hanging onto to the ball for the touchdown. The Huskies would trail 8-7 after the score.

After a horrible penalty on fair catch interference the Utes had great field position on their own 49 yard line. White would rush for five yards then Wilson would complete a pass to Kenneth Scott for 13 yards to the Huskies 33 yard line. Wilson would throw an incomplete pass on first down, then White would rush up the middle for a loss of one. On third and 11 Wilson attempted a throw but Huskies linebacker John Timu jumped the pass and returned the interception 13 yards to the Huskies 33 yard line.

That was the first turnover of the ball game as the Utes failed to take advantage of their great field position. For the Huskies who often lose the turnover battle it was a chance for them to take advantage of another teams mistake. Timu like he did against Oregon State baited the quarterback and then got in position to jump the route. The Huskies defense this year has been quite good at picking off passes as this was the first momentum changer of the game.

The Huskies start off by Price hitting tight end Evan Hudson who lined up in the backfield for a gain of six yards to the 39 yard line. Sankey would rush for nine yards to the 45 yard line. Facing third and nine from their 49 yard line Price would go deep to freshman Jaydon Mickens. This time Mickens would hang on as he stumbled down to the four yard line. Mickens would pick up 47 yards on that reception which to date has been the biggest play of his career. After a Sankey run of no gain, Price would attempt a pass to his tall tight end Seferian-Jenkins but the Ute defender batted it down. Facing a third and goal from the four Price found nobody open so he decided to take off as he dove into the end zone for the Huskies touchdown. For Price that was his first rushing touchdown of the year as the Huskies led 14-8 which is what they'd lead at halftime 14-8.

The Utes opened the half on their own 34 yard line. White would rush for three yards to their own 37 yard line. On second and seven Wilson completed a five yard pass but the Utes committed a 10 yard penalty making it second and 12. White would rush for  up the middle for nine yards to their own 41 yard line. On third and three the Utes would go back to White who ran for two yards setting up a fourth and one from their own 43 yard line. Kyle Whittingham decided to go for it on fourth and one. Timu would blow the play up and tackle White a chain length away from the first down as the Huskies would take over from the Utes 43 yard line.

The Utes would jump offsides as the Huskies had a first and five from the 38 yard line. On second down Price would connect with Williams for a gain of five yards down to the 33 yard line. Price on the following play would find Seferian-Jenkins on the left side for a gain of 24 yards down to the Utes nine yard line. Price looking like the Price of last year was in a groove on the following play would hit junior DiAndre Campbell over the middle for a nine yard touchdown pass giving the Huskies a 21-8 lead over the Utes. For Price that was his second touchdown pass of the game and for Campbell that was his second touchdown reception of the season.

The Utes would respond to that score as the Huskies reeled off 21 consecutive points. Starting from their own 39 yard line White would rush for five yards to the 44 yard line. On the following play White would rush for six yards to the 50 yard line. After three short runs the Utes would go for it once again on fourth and one this time from the Huskies 41 yard line. This time White would get the first down rushing for three yards to the 38 yard line. On second down Wilson would connect with Dres Anderson for a gain of 18 yards to the 20 yard line. Following play White would rush to the right for a 20 yard touchdown. That would be White's second rushing touchdown of the game as it cut the lead to 21-15 as the Utes were hoping for the comeback.

After the Huskies punted, Utes punt returner Charles Henderson fumbled the ball. Jamaal Kearse recovered the fumble on the Utes 46 yard line. Price would roll to his right and it would appear he was throwing it away instead he was throwing it high. Seferian-Jenkins would come down with the reception for 29 yards to the 17 yard line. On second down Price would hit Seferian-Jenkins on a quick receiver screen as Seferian-Jenkins would run for 10 yards setting up a first and goal from the seven. Sankey would take the hand off to the right for a gain of five yards setting up a second and goal from the two. On second down the Huskies would give it to Sankey again on a toss sweep to the left as Sankey sprinted to the corner for the touchdown. The Huskies would go for two as Price completed a pass to Seferian-Jenkins who was just short of the goal line. The Huskies led 27-15 going into the fourth quarter.

After a Kasen Williams fumble the Utes had the ball on their own 48 yard line. This was the Huskies first turnover of the game. White would be stopped for a loss of two on first down. Wilson would throw an incomplete pass. On third down, Wilson would fumble the ball pick it up then be sacked by Travis Feeney for a loss of six yards. The Utes were forced to punt as they pinned the Huskies on their own 18 yard line. That was the Utes last chance to win this game.

The Huskies were about to go on a 16 play 82 yard drive that took up 8 minutes and 50 seconds off the clock. After an incompletion Price would complete a pass to Kendyl Taylor for a gain of seven yards setting up third and eight from their own 20 yard line after a five yard penalty. Price would attempt a pass to the left but the Utes were ready for it so Price saw there was a huge opening to his right and ran for 11 yards to their own 31 yard line. Sankey would rush for five yards to the 36 yard line. On third and five from the 36 yard line Price again would take off to run to his right for a gain of seven yards to the 43 yard line. The Utes then would commit a five yard penalty giving the Huskies first and five from their own 48 yard line.

Sankey would rush for seven yards then six yards. After a short gain by Sankey the Huskies were facing a third and two from the Utes 37 yard line. Price would hit Seferian-Jenkins who would make his defender miss for a gain of four yards and the first down. On third and nine from the 32 yard line Price would throw it to his left as Seferian-Jenkins made the diving catch for a gain of eight yards making it fourth and one. The Utes would jump offsides giving the Huskies a first down at the Utes 18 yard line. Sankey would rush for four more yards to the 14. Then Sankey would rush to the left for 10 yards. On first and goal from the four yard line Sankey would rush up the middle for his second touchdown of the game. The Huskies would lead 34-15 with 4:34 left in the game.

The Huskies would win the game 34-15 over the Utes in a game that was similar to last year. The Huskies outgained the Utes 437-188 and also won the turnover battle. Price was 24-33 passing(72.7%) for 277 yards(8.4 YPA) with two touchdowns passing and one rushing.

 Austin Seferian-Jenkins caught seven passes for 99 yards(14.1 YPC) as he set the record for most career receptions for a Husky tight end. Kasen Williams caught seven passes for 73 yards(10.4 YPC) with a terrific touchdown grab. Jaydon Mickens caught one pass for 47 yards. Cody Bruns caught two passes for 23 yards. DiAndre Campbell caught one pass for nine yards with the touchdown. Bishop Sankey ran for 162 yards on 36 carries(4.5 YPC) with two touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 13 yards.

For the Utes they were led by John White who ran for 142 yards on 22 carries(6.5 YPC) with two touchdowns. The Utes had been previously 11-0 when he rushes for over 100 yards which wasn't the case today. Quarterback Travis Wilson really struggled as he was only 8-23(34.8%) passing for 55 yards(2.4 YPA) with an interception. He was also sacked four times. The Utes had just nine first downs and were 1-13 on third downs as their offense was horrible.

For the Huskies this was a good home win. Their defense played well against a team who coming into this game had scored 98 points the previous two weeks. The offense finally scored more than 21 points against a D-1 opponent this year. The Huskies are bowl eligible for the third straight season with this victory and for the second straight season have lost only one game at home. The Huskies finish their season on the road the next two weeks where they have only won two road games the last two years. The good news is the two weeks are against Colorado(1-9, 1-6) and Washington State(2-8, 0-7) as the Huskies should be heavy favorites in both games.


- Austin Seferian-Jenkins had another incredible game to go along with his incredible season. First of all besides having a great game on offense Seferian-Jenkins was playing third down defensive end due to injuries on the Huskies defensive ends. He was playing two ways and still had a monster game. Seferian-Jenkins finished with seven receptions for 99 yards. He made several big plays and one in particular where Price threw it up there and Seferian-Jenkins just came down with it.

Seferian-Jenkins on the season has 55 receptions for 729 yards(13.3 YPC) with four touchdowns. He is the Huskies tight end record holder for most career receptions now with 96, yards at 1,273 and tied for first with 10 touchdowns. He also has the single season receptions record with 55 and counting this year. He currently is trailing Dave Williams by 66 yards for the single season receiving yardage record as well. Seferian-Jenkins is only a sophomore so he'll have one more year at least to shatter all the records.

- Kasen Williams enjoyed a fine game catching seven passes for 73 yards with a touchdown. Kasen again was Price go to receiver as he made several big plays. No play was bigger than his diving eight yard touchdown reception. At first it was unclear if it was a touchdown but when you saw the replay it was an NFL touchdown as he dragged both feet.

Williams on the year has 56 receptions for 620 yards(11.1 YPC) with five touchdowns. All five touchdowns this year have been at home. With 11 career touchdowns Williams is currently tied for 14th all-time in touchdown receptions in Washington history. Williams is only a sophomore so he'll have a chance to rack up more numbers. Williams is having a great season this year and once again was the main receiver for Price.

- This game for the first time all year the Huskies found some contributions from guys other than Williams and Seferian-Jenkins. Jaydon Mickens had a big 47 yard reception which he held onto unlike last week. That reception set up a touchdown. Cody Bruns caught two passes for 23 yards but his 19 yard reception set up a touchdown. Tight end Evan Hudson had a six yard reception on a touchdown drive as well. DiAndre Campbell caught a nine yard touchdown pass. Combined those four caught five passes for 85 yards with a touchdown. Not jaw dropping statistics but the Huskies needed that. Price likes to spread the ball around as shown by last year. He isn't that type of quarterback who only focuses on one or two guys. These other guys must step up consistently for the Huskies offense to thrive as they did today.

- Former Huskies head coach Jim Lambright was at the game. Lambright played for the Huskies from 1960-1964. He led the Huskies to the Rose Bowl his senior year earning all conference honors. He later became an assistant for the Huskies under Jim Owens then Don James. Lambright was an assistant for the Huskies from 1969-1976. In 1977 Don James promoted him to defensive coordinator where he was defensive coordinator for the Huskies until 1992. As defensive coordinator Lambright won four rose bowls, an Orange Bowl and a national championship in 1991. Due to James retiring so suddenly Lambright took over as head coach from 1993-98. As head coach Lambright was 44-25-1(.637) and 31-16-1(.659) in conference as the Huskies were co Pac-10 champions in 1995. Lambright was a great Husky and it is always nice to see him enjoying the games.

- Bishop Sankey once again had another great game. He carried the ball 36 times for 162 yards(4.5 YPC) with two touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 13 yards. Sankey wasn't supposed to be the starter this year but when Jesse Callier went down he has stepped up. Sankey has destroyed good rush defenses like Stanford, Oregon State and now Utah.

For the year Sankey has ran for 1,017 yards on 212 carries(4.8 YPC) with 13 rushing touchdowns. Sankey has became just the 11th running back in Washington history to go over 1,000 yards. His 13 rushing touchdowns eclipses Chris Polk's 12 of last season. In fact Sankey's 13 rushing touchdowns puts him tied for fifth all-time in school history for a single season. He trails Rashaan Shehee by just two touchdowns for second all-time in a single season as Shehee ran for 15 in 1995. Sankey for those who remember was a Washington State Cougar commit then last minute switched to Washington. That is a move that Sankey and Husky fans are thankful for now.

- Keith Price played his best game of the season. He was 24-33 passing for a season high 277 yards with two touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown and for only the third time all year he didn't turn the ball over. Price made big plays with his legs rushing for a touchdown and two crucial first downs. He also made big plays with his arm connecting on several key passes.

Price has struggled this year there is no doubt. He is now 201-330(60.9%) passing for 2,042 yards(6.2 YPA) with 11 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. Price also passed Cary Conklin and is 7th all-time in Huskies passing yardage history. Price is currently sitting in third place with 46 passing touchdowns as he trails Brock Huard and Jake Locker who have 53. Then Cody Pickett is the school record holder with 55. Many thought Price would pass that this year but most likely he'll have to wait next season for that.

- Desmond Trufant was a game-time decision but we all knew he was going to play. For Trufant to go out a winner in the stadium that his brother has played in for 10 years was pretty special. For Desmond he went out a winner and tomorrow he gets to watch his brother Marcus Trufant of the Seahawks host Isiah Trufant of the New York Jets on that same field. Trufant was asked to grow up quickly for the Huskies as he was the #1 corner since his freshman year. He struggled with that early on but this year has been a shut down corner. Teams don't even try to throw on him nor should they. Trufant just bats everything down in sight and is a big reason for this resurgence at Montlake defensively. The Huskies are going to miss Trufant who will have an incredible 48 hour period with his game then watching his two older brothers duke it out.

- For seniors like co-captain Drew Schaefer, Justin Glenn, and Cody Bruns I'm really happy for them. As true freshman they had to endure their first college football season without winning a single game as the Huskies went 0-12. Now they are part of a group that led the Huskies to three straight bowl appearances which seemed like a dream back in 2008. For Schaefer especially he has been an anchor on this offensive line and has provided leadership. Due to injures the Huskies have no seniors or even juniors on this offensive line. Schaefer was the lone upper classman and the Huskies went up against a Utah defensive line that features a future first round pick at defensive tackle. Schaefer handled his own and the Huskies for the fourth straight year under Schaefer as a starter produced a 1,000 yard rusher. The Huskies are going to miss Schaefer a lot on the offensive line next year.

- Steve Sarkisian is now 25-23 as a head coach in his career. He is also 3-0 since ditching the visor and going with his gray Husky hat. The Huskies are 6-4 against the second toughest schedule in the nation. The Huskies have also dealt with injuries yet if they win out as they should they'll go 8-4. That number is significant as the Huskies haven't won eight games since 2001. In fact since Don James retired the Huskies have only won eight games four times in the last 20 years.

I'm one of Sark's harshest critics but if he pulls off this 8-4 season and wins the bowl game to go 9-4 I'll give him credit for that. The Huskies are finding ways to win such as running the football and playing good defense. This is an entirely different team than just last year which shows Sarkisian has had to adjust as a coach. There are still plenty of things about the Sarkisian program that bother me but if he can pull this off I won't be complaining.

The Huskies did what they had to do which is earn the victory at home against a Utah team who hasn't won a road game all season long. The Huskies are now 5-1 this year at home and last year went 6-1 at home. The Huskies are starting to slowly build a homefield advantage once again as Sarkisian is now 19-7 now at home. With six of those defeats coming to ranked opponents such as Oregon(X 2), LSU, USC, Stanford and Nebraska. The Huskies are going to a bowl game which is always nice and after the seven year drought we had from 2003-09 should never be taken for granted. The Huskies are now looking to finish the season out on a five game winning streak putting them at 8-4. The Huskies have survived the hard part of their schedule now we'll see if they can take advantage of the soft part of the schedule.