Huskies (6-4, 3-4) at Oregon State (6-4, 4-3), 7:30 p.m. today at Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Ore.
Broadcast: ESPN2, KJR-950
Three keys for UW:
Pressure’s on: For as much as Sean Mannion throws — he leads the nation with 386 passing yards per game — one might think the Oregon State quarterback is more susceptible to the sack. That hasn’t necessarily been the case. The Beavers have allowed 20 sacks this season, which ranks as right about average in the Pac-12. Washington, by comparison, has allowed 28 sacks while attempting 153 fewer pass attempts than the Beavers. OSU allowed eight sacks in a 20-12 loss to Stanford on Oct. 26; in the pat two games (both losses), OSU has allowed a combined three sacks. UW’s defense, meanwhile, is fourth in the Pac-12 with 28 sacks, fourth-most in the Pac-12. The Huskies’ best chance at their first road win is to make Mannion uncomfortable in the pocket.
Sankey left, Sankey right: UW’s Bishop Sankey was held to more than 50 yards below his rushing average against UCLA last week, when he gained 91 yards on 27 carries. He is still fourth in the country with 1,396 yards rushing, and he remains on pace to break Corey Dillon’s UW season rushing record of 1,695 yards (assuming Sankey plays in a bowl game). With 32 rushing touchdown, Sankey is just three shy of matching Napoleon Kaufman’s career touchdown record. Oregon State, by the way, ranks ninth in the Pac-12 in allowing 4.38 yards per rush, so figure on a healthy diet of Sankey Saturday night, and especially if redshirt freshman Cyler Miles makes his first start at quarterback.
Protect the ball: It’s the No. 1 key every week, of course, but the Huskies showed last week how difficult it is to overcome turnovers on the road. In many ways, UW’s loss at UCLA last week came down to two lost fumbles in the first five and a half minutes, which spurred the Bruins to a 14-0 lead. For a team like UW with a small margin for error, the Huskies can’t afford to hurt themselves tonight. Oregon State is fifth in the conference with a plus-6 turnover margin; UW ranks seventh with a plus-3 margin.
— The Huskies won’t announce a starting quarterback until tonight as both UW and OSU try to salvage a once-promising season.
— Those in attendance at Reser Stadium will likely see who is starting for UW just before kickoff.
— UW finds itself in a similar situation to where it was two years ago in Corvallis.
— Bud Withers with a look at today’s must-see games.
— Interesting. The Vegas line has moved the Huskies as a 1.5-point favorite, after OSU opened the week as a 3.5-point favorite.
— UW’s pass defense could spell problems for Mannion and the Beavers.
— Five things to watch from Oregon State.