UW Huskies Notebook
The Washington Huskies (4-1,2-0) led by Steve Sarkisian are taking on the Colorado Buffaloes (1-5,0-2) in a conference battle at home.
The Huskies head into the Colorado game looking to go 3-0 in conference play for the first time since 1997, 5-1 for the first time since 2001 and 4-0 at home for the first time since 2001 as well.
The Huskies are led by Keith Price who is second in the nation in passing touchdowns with 17 and running back Chris Polk who is 16th in the entire nation in rushing yards.
In this notebook I’ll give three keys to the win while adding some interesting facts and notes on the bottom.
1. Put the opponent away early:
UW are favored by 14.5 points at home fresh off their most impressive win in the Sarkisian era winning 31-14 over Utah. Meanwhile Colorado is limping into this game having lost 48-7 to Stanford last week. Whenever a favorite takes on an underdog it is important to put that team away early.
The Huskies have actually done a terrific job doing that outscoring their opponents 56-34 (11.2-6.8 average) in the first quarter. If the Huskies can get off to a quick 14-0 lead that should be enough to coast for the victory.
2. Protect Keith Price, let big plays happen:
The Colorado Buffaloes strength this year is their ability to create pressure as they lead the Pac-12 with 2.88 sacks per game. While the Huskies have allowed the fifth most sacks on the year with 11 (2.2 sacks per game). That tells me that Colorado likes to blitz quite a bit which comes with some consequences such as the big play. The Huskies also have a great running game with Chris Polk so featuring him early to make Colorado avoid blitzing situations is key.
The Huskies also have Austin Seferian-Jenkins at tight end to go with four talented receivers in Jermaine Kearse, Devin Aguilar, James Johnson and Kasen Williams. As long as the Huskies recognize the blitz they shoudl be able to light up the Buffaloes defense is allowing 33.3 points per game through six games while the Huskies offense is averaging 34 points a game.
3. Don’t take the opponent lightly:
So far in the Sarkisian era after a big victory the Huskies have laid an egg the following game. In 2009 the Huskies upset #3 USC Trojans 16-13 then were ranked in the top 25. The Huskies were then smashed by Stanford 34-14. Last year after beating #18 USC on the road 32-31 the Huskies returned home to face a bad Arizona State team only to lose 24-14. After defeating #24 Oregon State at home 35-34 in double overtime the Huskies lost three games in a row.
Then the Huskies ended the year winning the Holiday Bowl 19-7. The Huskies began this season with Eastern Washington (2-4) only to survive that game 30-27 to a team who would lose three more games in a row after almost shocking the nation. The Huskies have had a bad habit dealing with success so far. This would be a good time for them to blow out an opponent when they are expected to do so.
Keith Price QB – Price has had his knees banged up all year long and sprained his ankle against Utah. He was given the entire week off and appears to be the healthiest he has been all season long.
Kasen Williams WR – The Huskies fourth receiver who has 10 receptions and two TD’s on the year also sprained his ankle in the win over Utah. He was in a walking boot last week. He has practiced this week and will be a game-time decision.
Jesse Callier RB – Callier was banged up during the Nebraska game and has seen very limited action in wins over California and Utah. Callier is expected to return this week as kickoff returner and spell Chris Polk on some carries.
Nate Fellner S – Fellner who led the team in interceptions last year with 5 has missed the last three games. Fellner is expected to return to the lineup. He’ll backup Justin Glenn who has been playing well but expect to see plenty of Fellner on third and longs
John Timu OLB – If you remember Timu had to be carted off the field against California and missed the Utah game. Well Timu will return but due to the play of Jamaal Kearse he will backup Kearse for now.
The Huskies bye week came at a great time as the Huskies healed up and appear to be at full health minus Williams. If Williams can’t go Kevin Smith who is a four star recruit and has six receptions on the season will be the fourth receiver.
The Huskies are looking to take care of business at home against an opponent they should have no problems with.
CU Buffaloes vs. UW Huskies
Start time: 12:30 p.m. PT
Location: Husky Stadium
Radio: 950 KJR
KShell’s Fearless Prediction: Huskies offense averages 34, Colorado gives up 33 so I’ll say Huskies cover the spread winning 34-17!