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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 20, 2009 at 6:03 PM

A quick peek ahead

The USC game is obviously one to revel in, and we’ll have all kinds of stuff reviewing that through the week, I’m sure.
But the season moves quickly, and now that Steve Sarkisian’s 24-hour rule has passed, the coaches and players will begin turning their attention to Stanford.
And in case you missed it, the Cardinal had a pretty easy time with San Jose State last night, beating the Spartans 42-17. Stanford is 2-1 overall and 1-0 in Pac-10 play, joining the Huskies as the only Pac-10 teams with conference wins.
The key quote in that story is from San Jose State coach Dick Tomey who says this is the most physical Stanford team he’s ever seen — Tomey has coached in and around the Pac-10 for about three decades now as a head coach and assistant, so that’s saying something.
Stanford led 42-10 at the end of the third quarter, so the game was never close. And the Cardinal rushed 40 times for 211 yards a strategy it will is sure to try again Saturday against the Huskies.
In fact, while stopping the run is almost always the first thing coaches say — unless they are playing Hawaii or something — it looks as if it could be especially big in this game given that it’s what Stanford likes to do, and that it’s hard to tell yet how good UW is at stopping it.
The Huskies are vastly improved defending the run from a year ago, as they are in all areas. But the stats indicate they still have a ways to go — even if we all agree that stats this early in the season can be a little misleading. Still, UW is allowing 154 rushing yards per game and 5.4 per attempt. Saturday, USC got 250 yards and averaged 6.5 per play. USC got 111 of those yards in the first quarter before the UW defense settled down.
But with the success they’d had doing it, you wondered at times why the Trojans went away from the run, though frankly, I thought the Trojans might have outsmarted themselves at times, throwing when they should have been running, running when they should have been throwing (the third-down run before the late FG that tied the game, for instance, or the last play of the first half).
Anyway, the relevant point here is that the UW run defense will be put to the test again this week by the Cardinal and RB Toby Gerhart, who is averaging 105 yards per game.
MORE NUMBERS — Speaking of stats, here is Washington’s team page from NCAASports.com detailing all of UW’s numbers after three games.
UW leads the Pac-10 in two categories — passing offense (270.33 per game) and punt returns (18.5 per attempt).
Otherwise, they don’t rank very high in many stats, indicative of the tough competition UW has faced so far.
Individually, Jake Locker is third in the conference in passing efficiency and first in total offense (288.33). And Erik Folk is fifth in the nation in field goals at two per game

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