CU (1-5) at UW (4-1)
The Washington Huskies are rested after a Week-6 bye, back in Seattle and ready for an important clash with Colorado this week. While UW is projected to win big, it can’t take this game lightly.
A victory would likely vault the Huskies into the national top 25 entering the toughest stretch of the season, which starts with a trip to Stanford next week.
After Jake Locker’s offseason departure for the NFL, UW’s offense has been far better than expected. Washington averages 34 points per game and has showcased a balanced attack, passing for 241.8 yards per game and running for 149.4.
Keith Price continues to make his case for the Heisman Trophy discussion, having completed 68.3 per cent of his passes for 1,209 yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions over five starts. The ever-reliable Chris Polk averages more than 100 rushing yards per contest and 5.3 yards per carry.
We can thus expect the Huskies to score plenty of points this Saturday. Colorado has the country’s 93rd-ranked pass defense and allows 33.3 points per game. Price in particular should puff up his sparkling stats even more.
But will UW keep Colorado off the board? That’s the bigger question. Washington’s run defense is solid (23rd in the country) but few teams have defended the pass worse in 2011. Washington is 117th in the FBS, allowing 323 passing yards per game.
A strong defensive effort against Buffaloes quarterback Tyler Hansen is crucial this week. He’s been one of Colorado’s few bright spots this season, throwing for 1,527 yards with 12 touchdown passes and three picks.
The Huskies have to treat this game as a dress rehearsal for Stanford next week.
If they can’t stop an above-average quarterback like Hansen, they’ll be in serious trouble next week against Andrew Luck, who is widely considered the best college quarterback in the country.
It will take a lot for Washington to lose on Saturday but, for coach Steve Sarkasian, just a win shouldn’t be good enough. The Huskies need to win decisively and play lockdown defense to enter the Stanford game at their absolute best.