Nothing is impossible…
This December 29th brings us a whirlwind of bowl games from the NCAA football season. The most interesting matchup for those who follow the Purple and Gold is the Valero Alamo Bowl. This bowl game features the University of Washington Huskies and the Baylor Bears.
The game will be somewhat of a home game for Baylor as they play in Waco, TX which is not too far from San Antonio where this game is being played. Not to mention that Baylor now has their very first Heisman winner in the recently crowned Robert Griffin III (otherwise known as RG3.)
Without further ado, I bring to you 5 ways the Huskies can beat the Bears in the 2011 Valero Alamo Bowl
Give the young guys a chance
When you throw in unfamiliar players to a mix that consists of players like Keith Price and Chris Polk, it can be disastrous for either team. It has worked mostly in the Huskies favor this season, throwing in young, unproven players like Jesse Callier and Bishop Sankey or Jamaal Kearse on defense.
They made big impacts when they had their chances and it may throw off a Baylor team preparing for the styles of other player rather than these under-utilized guys.
5. 3 weeks rest
The Huskies will be playing with over 3 weeks of rest and 3 weeks to prepare for this game. Baylor’s team is pass-happy, but their ground yardage is no joke, either. They are a multi-dimensional team who can make you pay in several ways.
The Huskies should be using this long gap of time to study hard on how to beat the prolific Baylor offense.
They should also use it to heal up. The healthier the Huskies are, the better they will play. Keith Price’s knees will be the biggest benefactor of the time off as he may play like it’s his last game and go all-out on his rejuvenated knees.
Several Huskies were dinged and beaten up all season long, so it will be nice to see a fresh, healthy team out there.
4. Playing inspired
This game has so many different implications for the Huskies. The main impact, though, is playing spoiler in a game that most have them pegged at losing. With that chip on their shoulder coupled with the opportunity to beat the Heisman winner in a nationally recognized game, it would be paramount to the success of so many aspects of the UW Husky football program to see a win here.
This national game should make it even more inspiring to the players as they stepped up last year to beat Nebraska in their bowl game. If the Huskies can step up and into the spotlight again, this could be their day. Not to mention the attention that returning players for next year like Price and hopefully Polk.
3. Keith Price
Husky QB Keith Price will have his hands full, but it is certainly manageable. Baylor has a prolific offense, but their defense is not one to brag about for the most part. Price will have to be crafty as ever to give himself and this Husky offense a chance to make this a game.
Baylor’s defense gives up 477.5 yards of offense per game, including 3,346 yards through the air this season with a 6.24 yard per play average. Those are telling numbers the Price can work with and take advantage of.
The down side is that Baylor has picked off 16 passes this season and taken 2 back for touchdowns. While Price will have many opportunities, he must be careful, because there are interceptions to be had.
2. Chris Polk
Chris Polk will also have a huge role in this game as him and Price will have to work together to get this dangerous Husky offense going against the Baylor Bears. Polk rushed for 1,341 yards in the regular season and is looking to capitalize and run wild in this one.
His biggest impact, though, may come from the receiving game as he has really stepped out and shown he has a whole other weapon in his receiving skills. If Price can target him for a big play or two in the air, the Baylor defense will surely be thrown off their game and not sure where to defend next.
1. Big plays on defense
We all know about and witnessed the Husky defense this season. It’s had its few highs and many, many lows. One thing, though, about the suspect Husky defense is their ability to come up with a big stop every once in a while. It’s how they wrapped up the first 3 very shaky games of the season as well as put teams away later in the season.
Big plays are exactly what the Huskies need here. Stopping a drive in the red zone and forcing Baylor to kick a field goal is a win for the Huskies in this game.
Batting down a 3rd down pass instead of interfering with the intended receiver would help big time as well.
These are all things the defense is capable of doing as we have all seen it happen already this season. The question is, though, will they be able to step up when needed in this game?
Let’s hope so!