California (3-0) at Washington (2-1)
Week 3 didn’t yield a victory for the Washington Huskies but it didn’t necessarily take the wind out of their sails, either.
Washington wasn’t given much of a chance to beat Nebraska on the road but still made a game of it and kept its strong offensive play going in a 51-38 defeat.
The Huskies return home this week but the schedule doesn’t get much easier.
They draw a 3-0 California team as Pac-12 play begins. Can Washington rectify its defensive woes in time to win on Saturday?
Most encouraging about the loss to Nebraska; even a national contender like the Cornhuskers could do nothing to slow down UW’s offense. The Huskies totalled 420 yards. Keith Price continued to impress as Jake Locker’s successor, throwing for 274 yards and four touchdown passes with two interceptions.
Chris Polk gave another steady performance in the backfield, rushing 22 times for 130 yards and a score.
On paper, California’s defense has been strong this season, but Fresno State, Colorado and Presbyterian aren’t exactly a who’s who of juggernaut opponents. The Golden Bears haven’t faced anything like Washington’s attack and should be expected to surrender a pile of points.
The bigger question for Saturday’s game is whether not Washington’s “D” can stop the bleeding. It allowed just less than 500 yards of offense to Nebraska and sits at 108th in the country with 452 yards allowed per game.
The prediction here: we will in fact see an improvement from the Husky defense this weekend. It faced two dynamic offensive weapons in Hawaii’s Bryant Moniz and Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez over its last two games.
Cal’s Zach Maynard is no slouch but he’s also not the type of guy you plan your whole defensive scheme around.
Cal will still move the ball but Washington should have slightly better luck keeping its opponent off the board this week.
It’s a bit surprising that the Huskies are only a one-point favorite.
Considering that Utah, Stanford, Oregon and USC all lie ahead on the schedule, Washington needs to win intermediate challenges like Saturday’s contest.
Cal/UW Betting Trends:
Over is 21-8-1 in CAL last 30 games in September.
WASH are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
Over is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings.