Washington QB Keith Price is up against a defense he can throw against in Arizona, but the revived Huskies defense is up against trouble in Tucson.
GAME: Washington (3-3 overall, 1-2 Pac-12) at Arizona (3-3 overall, 0-3 Pac-12). WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m.. PT, Arizona Stadium, Tucson. MEETING: 29th (Washington leads 18-9-1). COACHES: Rich Rodriguez, Arizona; Steve Sarkisian, Washington. RANKINGS: Neither ranked. LINE: Arizona by 7 1/2. TV: Pac-12 Networks. RADIO: KJR-950 AM, 102.9 FM.
Unlike many, Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez takes an optimistic view about how the season is ultimately going to play out for his Saturday opponent, Steve Sarkisian’s Washington Huskies. The Wildcats and Dawgs meet in the desert with both teams coming off losses.
“I think you have to treat Washington as a team that is going to be ranked by the end of the season,” Rodriguez said. “They’ve beaten a ranked team (Stanford). They’re without a doubt one of the most athletic teams in our league. Sarkisian and the rest of their guys are really excited, and they should be, with where they are right now.
“Keith Price is as good as any athlete. They have some of the best skill players in the league, and a very athletic defense. Our guys can see that on film. You can paint whatever picture you want, but when you see them on film you know they are good.”
Washington and Arizona have similar stories this season. Both have played nationally ranked opponents the past three weeks and four in the season’s first six games. Both schools have gone 1-3 in those games. Both have been nationally ranked, but neither are now. Both are coming off what Rodriguez described as “unsavory” losses, Arizona a 54-48 overtime stumble at No. 18 Stanford, Washington a 24-14 setback to No. 11 USC.
The combined record of Arizona’s five FBS opponents is 24-5. The teams beaten by Arizona have gone 15-2. Washington’s five FBS opponents have a combined mark of 25-7, with the teams UW beat going 17-2.
The one major difference between the schools is that Arizona, coming off a bye week, has four home games remaining while Washington will play four of its final six away from CenturyLink Field.
Head-to-head, the difference between Arizona and Washington is pretty clear. Arizona relies on a prolific offense — the Wildcats average 37.0 points per game — and Washington’s much-improved defense makes up for a feeble offense that has yet to score more than 21 points against an FBS opponent. The following would seem to be the three major storylines for the 29th meeting between the schools:
Washington will be concerned most with Arizona quarterback Matt Scott, who leads the Pac-12 in total offense and passing yards. Scott has three of Arizona’s top-nine all-time single-game total offense performances this season (485 at Stanford, 461 vs. Toledo, 432 vs. Oregon State). Against Stanford, Scott set UA and Pac-12 records for pass attempts (69) and completions (45).
Next, the Husky defense will have to find a way to contain Ka’Deem Carey, who leads all Pac-12 runners with 11 touchdowns. Carey has topped 100 yards rushing four times this season.
Bottom line for the Huskies is that this is the week that Price has to break out in a big way. Arizona allows 32.7 points per game, 181.8 rushing yards per game and 297.0 passing yards per game.
SERIES: Dates to Nov. 4, 1978, when the Huskies scored a 31-21 victory in Seattle. Washington has won four of the past seven meetings, including 42-31 last year when Chris Polk produced his best college game, scoring five touchdowns. Polk rushed for 144 yards and scored on runs of 1, 1, 5 and 2 yards. He also caught a 17-yard TD pass from Keith Price. Polk also had 100 yards receiving, becoming the first player in UW history with 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in the same game.
UW HEAD COACH: Steve Sarkisian (22-22-0) is in his fourth season. After a 5-7 record in his first year (2009), Sarkisian guided the Huskies to a 7-6 record in 2010, which ended with a 19-7 victory over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. That marked Washington’s first postseason game since the 2002 Sun Bowl. Sarkisian coached the Huskies to another 7-6 record in 2011, including a berth opposite Baylor in the Alamo Bowl. Prior to joining the Huskies, Sarkisian served as a USC assistant under Pete Carroll (2001-03, 2005-08). He also worked as an Oakland Raiders assistant in 2004. Sarkisian played quarterback at Brigham Young University and later played in the Canadian Football League.
UW STATS / NOTES
HUSKIES OFFENSIVE LEADERS
|Keith Price||6||186||114||1080||7 /6||116.0|
HUSKIES DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Tutogi 38, Parker 36, Feeney 35|
|Sacks||Feeney, Hudson, Shirley, 2.0|
|Interceptions||Peters 2, Thompson, Glenn, Watson, Trufant, 1|
|Passes Defensed||Watson 5, Trufant 5, Peters 4, Glenn 2|
|Forced Fumbles||Parker, Feeney, Fuimaono, Shirley, 1|
|Fumbles Recovered||Tutogi, Glenn, Hudson, Shamberger, 1|
Pac-12 Standings / North
|Oregon||7-0||4-0||Oct. 27 vs. Colorado, TBD, Pac-12|
|Oregon St.||5-0||3-0||Saturday vs. Utah, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2|
|Stanford||4-2||2-1||Saturday at Cal, 12 p.m., FOX|
|California||3-4||2-2||Saturday vs. Stanford, 12 p.m., FOX|
|Washington||3-3||1-2||Saturday at Arizona, 7 p.m., Pac-12|
|WSU||2-5||0-4||Oct. 27 at Stanford, TBD, Pac-12|
Pac-12 Standings / South
|USC||5-1||3-1||Saturday vs. Colorado, 3 p.m., Pac-12|
|ASU||5-2||3-1||Oct. 27 vs. UCLA, 12 p.m., FX|
|UCLA||5-2||2-2||Oct. 27 at ASU, 12 p.m., FX|
|Colorado||1-5||1-2||Saturday at USC, 3 p.m., Pac-12|
|Arizona||3-3||0-3||Saturday vs. Washngton, 7 p.m., Pac-12|
|Utah||2-4||0-3||Saturday vs. Utah, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2|
ARIZONA NOTES: Arizona won its first three, defeating Toledo (24-17), Oklahoma State (59-38) and South Carolina State (56-0), and lost its last three to Oregon (49-0), Oregon State (38-35) and Stanford (54-48) . . . Ka’Deem Carey is the Pac-12′s third-leading rusher, averaging 111.7 yards per game and its leading scorer with 66 points (11 TDs) . . . Matt Scott is the league’s leading passer, averaging 352.3 yards per game. He also leads in total offense at 389.3 yards per game and ranks sixth in passing efficiency at 135.8 . . . Austin Hill ranks fourth in the conference with 7.0 receptions per game and fourth in receiving yards at 101.3 . . . The Arizona roster includes three players from the state of Washington, including LB Vaughn Brinkman (Post Falls, Gonzaga Prep), LB Sir Thomas Jackson (Seattle, O’Dea) and CB Justin Samuels (Camas).
ARIZONA HEAD COACH: Rich Rodriguez is in his first year as Arizona’s head coach following a two-year absence from football. Prior to joining the Wildcats, Rodriguez was the head coach at Michigan from 2008-10 (15-22). Prior to that, Rodriguez was head coach at West Virginia from 2001-07 (60-26). Rodriguez entered college coaching as a student at West Virginia in 1985. He entered the 2012 season with a 75-48 record at the Division I level. He graduated from West Virginia in 1986.
COMING UP: After playing Arizona, the Huskies will return to CenturyLink Field to host Oregon State Oct. 27.
University of Washington 2012 Schedule/Results
|Date||Opponent||UW Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|9/1/12||vs. SD State||—||—||W||21-12||1-0|
|9/15/12||vs. Port. State||—||—||W||52-13||2-1|
UW 21, San Diego State 12 (Sept. 1): Keith Price completed 25 of 35 passes for 222 yards and an eight-yard TD to Kasen Williams, and Will Shamburger returned a fumble 44 yards to a touchdown as Washington defeated San Diego State in front of 53,742 at CenturyLink Field. The UW defense, maligned throughout the 2011 season, gave up 199 rushing yards but just 128 passing yards, recovered two fumbles, had three sacks and an interception.
LSU 41, Washington 3 (Sept. 8): No. 3 LSU sacked Keith Price four times, hit him an additional dozen times and romped easily to victory over Washington in the Huskies’ first trip to the Southeastern Conference since 1983. LSU outgained Washington 437 yards to 170 and held Price to 157 passing yards with one interception.
UW 52, Portland State 13 (Sept. 15): Keith Price threw three touchdown passes in the first 23 minutes, Bishop Sankey ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns, Shaq Thompson blocked a field goal that Tre Watson returned 79 yards for a touchdown, and the Huskies massacred the Vikings at CenturyLink Field. It marked the Huskies’ biggest win since a 53-3 win over Idaho in 2001.
UW 17, Stanford 13 (Sept. 27): Keith Price threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Kasen Williams late in the fourth quarter and Desmond Trufant made a game-sealing interception as Washington shocked No. 8 Stanford 17-13 at CenturyLink Field. One year after UW lost to Stanford by 44 points and a week after the Cardinal defeated national title contender USC, Washington used a stifling defense to upset Stanford, holding the Cardinal to just 235 yards and no offensive touchdowns. Bishop Sankey ran for 144 yards for UW and scored on a 61-yard run on the last play of the third quarter, sparking Washington’s stagnant offense.
Oregon 52, UW 21 (Oct. 6): Oregon freshman Marcus Mariota passed for four touchdowns and the No. 2 Ducks recorded their ninth consecutive victory over Washington, 52-21, in Eugene. The 23-ranked Huskies aided the Oregon cause with a series of mistakes, including three personal fouls. Quarterback Keith Price completed 19 of 31 for 145 yards and two interceptions. Bishop Sankey scored on a pair of short runs and Eric Wilson added a TD with 32 seconds to play.
USC 24, UW 14 (Oct. 13): Anthony Brown blocked a punt and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown, Jawanza Starling forced a key fourth-quarter fumble, and No. 11 USC used big plays from its defense and special teams to overcome an inconsistent offense in a 24-14 win over Washington. The Huskies held Trojans (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) scoreless in the second half but got needed help from a defense that sacked Washington QB Keith Price five times and forced four turnovers to give USC its third straight win. The Huskies got their points on a 17-yard TD pass from Price to Kasen Williams and a two-yard pass from Price to Austin-Seferian-Jenkins.