The #22 Washington Huskies (5-1,3-0) this week take on their toughest challenge of the season #7 Stanford Cardinal(6-0,4-0) on the road in a primetime game on ABC.
The Huskies are coming off a 52-24 beatdown of the Colorado Buffaloes in a game which saw them rush for 295 yards while passing for four touchdowns on the game. The Huskies are facing an opponent who like the Huskies has a great rushing attack despite having a great quarterback. The Cardinals quarterback Andrew Luck is probably the best quarterback the college game has seen in the last 30 years.
The Huskies defense will have their hands full when they take on a Cardinals team who is beating their opponents by an average score of 45.8-11.2 which includes the 44-14 thrashing they had of the Washington State Cougars last week.
The Huskies offense led by Keith Price who is second in the nation in passing touchdowns with 21 is averaging 37.0 points per game.
While Chris Polk is 14th in the nation in rushing yards with 711 yards(5.3 YPC) so the Huskies have fire power as well.
So after breaking this down I’ll offer up my three keys to the game.
1. Keith Price must bring his “A” game:
Huskies quarterback Keith Price has been terrific all season long. For the year Price has completed 68.3% of his passes for 1,466 yards(8.6 YPA) with 21 touchdowns to four interceptions.
Against a Stanford offense who will put up points on the board for the Huskies to have any chance in this game Price has to play like he did last week where he was 21-28(75.0%) passing and 18-22 (81.8%) passing in the first half.
Price is going to be asked to match the Stanford offense point for point for the Huskies to have any chance in this game.
2. Win the first quarter; set the tone:
This year the Stanford Cardinal have outscored their opponents 50-0 in the first quarter. While the Huskies are pretty good as well in the first quarter outscoring their opponents 77-41 including 21-7 last week. The Huskies defense has had a terrible habit though of allowing early scores in the first quarter.
In fact defensively the Huskies have allowed a touchdown in the first quarter in five of their six games.
The Huskies have scored a first quarter touchdown in every game.
When trying to achieve the upset you have to hang around and can’t afford to be burried early. I have a feeling the Huskies will snap that streak for the Cardinals of not allowing a point while the Cardinals will score on the Huskies.
3. Be tough in the red zone:
The Huskies defense won’t be able to stop the Cardinals offense. The Cardinals offense led by Andrew Luck who is completing 71.3% of his passes for 1,719 yards(9.5 YPA) with 18 touchdowns to just three interceptions.
The Cardinals offense is going to score points but the Huskies defense has to bend but not break.
The Cardinals in the redzone is a perfect 31 for 31 with 25 touchdowns. While the Huskies offense is 23-26 with 20 touchdowns so the Huskies offense is efficient in the redzone. While the defense is also pretty good allowing just 23-28 but more importantly only 16 touchdowns.
If the Huskies have any chance of winning this game they have to hold the Cardinals to field goals instead of touchdowns as I don’t see Stanford punting very much.
Kasen Williams WR- Probable. Last week Williams didn’t run a single snap at wide receiver but did field every punt including one where he had a nice return. Williams not playing probably had more to do with the opponent and the fact the Huskies are very deep at wide receiver.
As for the rest of the team the Huskies appear to be extremely healthy.
The Huskies have a big opportunity to make a program changing win on ABC in primetime. Right now Steve Sarkisian has the program progessing ahead of schedule and he can speed that up with an upset win over Stanford.
The Huskies haven’t beaten a top 10 ranked opponent on the road since 2002 when they beat the #3 Washington State Cougars.
Location: Palo Alto
Last Meeting: October 30, 2010 at Husky Stadium. Stanford won 41-0
TV: ABC or ESPN3(if you don’t live on west coast)
Time: 5:00 p.m PT
Vegas line: Stanford by 21.5 points
Prediction: Stanford 48, Washington 31
|Oct 22-8:00 PM ET||Record|
|WASH||5-1 (1-1 V)|
|STAN||6-0 (3-0 H)|