Follow us:

Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 22, 2010 at 2:49 PM

The pick. …

The meaning of sporting events is often better discerned down the road. Only later does it become clear whether something was a Tipping Point, instead of just a nice win or a tough loss.
So it is with Washington’s win last week against Oregon State. Exciting as it was, UW fans feel like they’ve been here before, watching the team get a win that could maybe prove to be an impetus for greater things only to see the Huskies squander the loot the next week.
UW, as I’m sure you don’t really need to be told, has been on a lose-one, win-one cycle all season — fitting of a team that stands 3-3 at the midpoint of the season.
But if UW is going to get over the .500 mark, there is no better time than now. First off is the “urgency” of the situation, to use a word uttered a lot on Montlake this week.
Considering Stanford and Oregon are next on the schedule, this may be the most winnable games UW plays for a while.


And as has been well-publicized all week, the Wildcats will be without starting QB Nick Foles, going instead with junior Matt Scott.
How UW defends Scott will be one of the keys to the game.
UW coaches say they don’t expect Arizona to alter its offensive game plan greatly but figure there will be more designed QB runs, and maybe more runs in general.
That will put the onus on UW to stop the run and put the game back in the hands of Scott. UW’s odds seem better if they can force Scott to have to make the plays to win the game.
UW will need more of the upsurge in pass rush it got last week from the likes of Hau’oli Jamora and Alameda Ta’amu.
UW will also need to continue the improvement of the secondary last week. No matter what changes Arizona makes, I’d still anticipate seeing a lot of those bubble screens. UW will need to be sure tacklers.
Offensively, Steve Sarkisian has said UW’s biggest challenge is containing Arizona’s pass rush, specifically ends Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore. Winning one-on-one battles is paramount there. But so is designing some plays to keep the pass-rush off-balance. Screens are obviously a time-worn technique for trying to slow down pressure. UW obviously needs to keep the UA defenders from levying too many hits on Jake Locker, who returned to practice Thursday and will play, but is beginning to accumulate a few bumps and bruises and sat out most of practice this week for the second straight week.
Emotionally, it’s hard to tell who has the edge here.
Arizona obviously has a big loss to fill in Foles. But sometimes teams can rally around the backup for a game or two — and Scott does have some starting experience. Arizona also is 5-1 overall, BCS hopes still realistic. It’s also Homecoming, and UA coach Mike Stoops has talked often this week that his team hasn’t had the same emotional pitch since beating Iowa in September. He seems to be trying to set a tone for this game.
UW, meanwhile, has the momentum of the OSU win and the challenge of trying to show they play that way consistently. The last time UW won back-to-back Pac-10 games with one coming on the road, interestingly enough, happened here in 2006 when UW beat UCLA at home one week and the Wildcats in Tucson the next.
And UW hasn’t won consecutive road games since the “Northwest Championship” run of 2002. Vegas has Arizona favored by 6.5 That seems a bit high to me given the injury to Foles.
But despite his absence, I still think Arizona has just enough to get it done. UW has won two one-point games in conference play already.
Like those games, I think UW will stay in it throughout. And maybe I’m just playing the odds here, but I ultimately I think the Huskies come up just a little short. Call it, Arizona 27, Washington 24.

Comments

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►