Friday, November 23, 2012
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.