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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

December 4, 2010 at 10:51 AM

Five quick questions on today’s Apple Cup

Five questions for an Apple Cup morning. …
1, What’s the weather like?
A: As I type this at about 10:45 a.m., it’s clear and sunny and cold, but with no real wind and no sign of any moisture. So at the moment, a “snow bowl” does not appear on the horizon.
2, What is the TV situation again?
A: The game starts at 4 p.m. (kickoff likely a few minutes after that) on Versus. That’s Channel 34 on Comcast in Seattle or 626 in HD. Here is the Versus web site with more information (including a feature where you can find the network in your area). The game is on Versus because that network has a contract with the Pac-10 (as well as a few other conferences) and the network picked the Apple Cup to televise a few weeks ago as part of that contract.
A few other UW games the last few years have also been on Versus (including Stanford this year) so it’s nothing new. And as I usually point out to those who complain, TV that maybe is a little hard to find is better than no TV at all. This is part of the deal now in college sports. Every game gets on TV, but it does so because there are more networks now involved. The reality is that if you are a big-time college sports fan and want to see all the games, you’re going to have to get the sports package to assure you get all the necessary channels.
3, Is this the day the Huskies finally hand the ball to Chris Polk 25 times?
A: My guess is yes. It only makes sense to do that against the Cougars and their run defense. Many point out Polk has had 20 or more carries three times this year and UW has won all three. I defend the coaches slightly on this one because I think it’s too simplistic to say that all UW needs to do is hand him the ball 25 times and they’d win every game. This isn’t a great run blocking team and UW hasn’t been incredibly effective just lining up and running a lot of times this year, so they’ve had to try to spread the offense around. UW also has run fewer plays this year than anyone in the conference but Oregon State (721 compared to the 878 of leader Oregon). So there simply haven’t been as many carries to go around at times, especially when also trying to work Jake Locker and Jesse Callier into the mix.
But today? Yes, I fully expect Polk to get 25 or so carries.
4, Will the Huskies get off to a fast start?
A: It might be a good idea in this game to get a score or two early and set the Cougars on their heels. But that’s not something UW has done well all year. UW has led at the end of just one first quarter (Oregon State) and has been outscored 81-41 in the first quarter this year. I think that’s a vital period in this game as WSU may be rusty after the three-week bye and UW could make an early statement with an early score or two.
5, What has Steve Sarkisian said are the keys to the game?
A: He was on KJR-AM again yesterday and listed the two biggest as the running game and winning the battle up front on each side of the ball, and turnovers. Both are pretty obvious, but given recent trends, both may loom larger in this game. The one thing WSU’s defense does pretty well is force turnovers — WSU has gained 20 this year, fourth in the Pac-10 behind only Oregon (31), Stanford (29) and USC (23). UW has been good at not turning the ball over most of the year with just 15, tied for second-fewest in the conference. But UW did have three last week and needs to revert to the season-long trend and away from last week’s.

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