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.

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