Another late Saturday game for the University of Washington Huskies. Let’s hope that this one turns out better than the previous two.
Rich Rod’s Arizona’s Wildcats travel north to take on the Dawgs on Halloween in what will likely be a wet, miserable game played in front of a lot of drunk fans (it is the Black Out game after all).
After a rough start to P12 play, the Wildcats have won 2 out of their last 3 and barely lost to the Wazzu Lucky Cougars last week. Arizona is on the cusp on qualifying for a bowl game, and they will be ready to play.
Spread option. Same ol’ Rich Rod offense that he’s used at West Virginia, Michigan, and now at Arizona. The Wildcats have had little problem moving the ball and scoring this season (averaging well over 500 yards and over 40 points a game). Arizona does have a balanced attack this year, but the running game is their catalyst (almost 300 yards a game).
Arizona has 3 dangerous options in the running game. The best of the bunch is Sophomore RB Nick Wilson, but he may not play due to injury. Not that there is a dropoff of production. Jerrard Randall and Jared Baker have combined for 1131 yards with an impressive 8.8 YPC average on the season. And they aren’t starters…
Anu Solomon has been very steady from the QB position. He’s been making good decisions on the season while throwing for 13 TDs, and he has yet to throw an INT. Getting pressure on him while be crucial for the underrated UW defense.
The Wildcats will spread the ball around to 4 receivers, but the most dangerous Arizona WR is 6’3″ Cayleb Jones. The talented Junior is a nightmare matchup because of his size and speed. Sydney Jones will have his hands full.
Good news for the Huskies is that Arizona is not as good on defense as they are on offense (stop me if you’ve heard this before). The Wildcats suffered a huge loss when All-P12 LB Scooby Wright went down with an injury earlier this season.
Arizona runs the odd looking 3-3-5 defense, so they don’t give up a lot of big plays, but they also don’t put a lot of pressure on opposing passing games. The Wildcat front 6 is not extremely talented or physical, so they can be worn down by a patient passing game, and the WSU game last week is a great example.
The Wildcat secondary is average at best. While they have a couple of top recruits, the production hasn’t been there. I can’t say this enough: an intermediate passing game can beat Arizona.
Nick Wilson. He’s damn good, and if he is healthy, UW will have a huge task of slowing down 3 very talented runners. He could very well be the difference maker if he is healthy enough to play.
For the Huskies to win, they need to:
Follow the WSU game plan. As much as this hurts to say, Mike Leach’s crew showed the blueprint for exposing the Arizona defense. The Huskies need to be able to consistently get first downs in the passing game, which will open up things for Myles Gaskin. Coach Pete’s staff just needs to trust the QB…whoever it is.
It will be a dark and stormy night at Husky Stadium. Although the Husky defense will be able to make some plays against a really good offense, it will be too much for the young UW squad. Stanford exposed some holes in the Dawg’s defense and Rich Rod will follow suit. Arizona overwhelms UW, and Coach Pete falls to 2-6 at home against P12 opponents.
Arizona 38, UW 17.
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Saturday, October 24 @ 7:30 pm (PST) on ESPN.
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