The Huskies travel to Oregon State on Saturday to play the Beavers. Washington has its back against the wall going into this one. A loss the Beavers means that the team won't be bowl eligible this season.
I would ove to predict a victory in this one but Oregon State has too many edges in too many places going into this one. One key edge is the Beavers simply know how to finishand win games. Washington on the othe rhand does not. The 3-6 Huskies could easliy be 6-3 right now if they had taken advantage of opportunities against Notre Dame, ASU, and UCLA.
With Jake Locker in the lineup Washington always has the potential of beating anyone or at least keeping it lose enough to be competitive. The key though is getting out to a fast start and scoring some TD's in the red zone rather than resorting to FG's.
Quarterback - Oregon State...Sean Canfield is having a great senior season and has helped turn the Beavers into the top passing team in the Pac 10. Jake Locker started the season strong but poor decision making, a scheme that rarely uses his legs, and a questionable offensive line have limited his effectiveness over the second half of the season.
Running Back - Oregon State...Jacquizz Rodgers has been slowed from time to time this season by nagging injuries but he has put up good numbers and the best number is 15 TD's. His brother James also helps carry the load since he often gets carries even though he is a receiver. As usual Chris Polk will get his yards even though the OSU defense is ranked 15th in the country is rushing defense. Polk is just too good to shut out. The Beav's get the overall edge because Jacquizz is the better back at this point. Factor in running behind a better offensive line and it is no contest.
Wide Receiver - Even...James Rodgers is a great talent but Washington has a pretty good trio in Aguilar, Kearse, and Johnson which balances it out.
Offensive Line - Oregon State...The Beavers hav eone of the more productive and balanced offenses in the Pac 10. They can beat you throwing and they can beat you running. It all starts off with the guys up front who have done a great job giving Canfield time to throw and the Rodgers brothers room to run.
Defensive Line - Oregon State...The Beavers are strong up front and get better every game. Washington showed some promise earlier this season but the loss or Cameron Elisara to stingers has been a tough hole to fill. They moved DTN inside last week and that didn't work either. OSU rotates up to ten different players in and out during the game. They have a hige depth and talent advantage at this position over Washington.
Linebacker - Even...The Huskies have suffered a drop off with EJ Savannah out of the line up. Cort Dennison has done a great job filling in but you do notice the drop off. Mason and Butler continue to be two of the leagues best backers.
Secondary - Even...Both of these units give up a lot of yards. What they have in common is youth and lack of experience. The Beavers have a little more speed back here but that speed hasn't really helped them. Washington is getting better every week enven though the stats don't show it. Some help up front would make this secondary look better.
Special Teams - Oregon State...James Rodgers can hurt you in so many ways. He leads the conference in all purpose yards. Erik Folk has only missed a couple of FG's this season. The last one he missed against UCLA cost Washington the game.
Washington Passing Game Versus Oregon State
If Washington is going to pull off the upset Jake Locker is going to have to have one of the best days of his career. The OSU secondary is very susceptible to the long ball since they insist on playing a lot of man coverage. The Washington receivers need to take advantage of those one on one type situations to help stretch the field.
Washington Rushing Game Versus Oregon State
Chris Polk always get his yards and he is coming off a 134 yard effort against UCLA last weekend. The big concern Washington has is getting the tough yards in the redzone they need when everyone knows they need to run the ball. When teams know what is coming they end up stuffing up.
Oregon State Passing Game Versus Washington
This will get pretty ugly quickly if the Huskies play pass defense the way they did last Saturday. Washington needs to get some form of pressure on Sean Canfield or it is going to be another long afternoon. Canfield has had a great season so far and if if given 5-6 seconds to pass on every down he is going to cut Washington apart. When under pressure he can make some game changing mistakes. Can Washington put pressure on him this week?
Oregon State Rushing Game Versus Washington
Washington has been able to stop the run early against most teams this season. Once the defense starts to tire in the second half it become an entirely different story. Jacquizz Rodgers just may be the best the Huskies see this season. This kid has all the tools and if the interior of the UW defensive line breaks down he is off to the races in the same manner as Oregon's LaMichael James was a few weeks ago.
Reser Stadium has become a very tough place to play in. Prior to 2000 there were probably an equal amount of Washington and Oregon State fans in the stands. That has changed over the past decade.
Jake Locker returns to the scene of where he was knocked out of the game and carried out on a stretcher to an ambulance. Jake says he remembers very little from that night but you think that shot might just give him some extra incentive on Saturday.
Defensive tackle Cameron Elisara (neck stinger) and linebacker E.J. Savannah (broken thumb) will sit out a second consecutive game this Saturday at Oregon State. De’Shon Matthews is likely to start in Elisara’s place at defensive tackle, while Cort Dennison is Savannah’s backup at linebacker.
Running back Chris Polk (ribs) will be able to play on saturday even though he is a little tender.
Ben Ossai and Drew Schaefer continue to split time at left tackle. Look for Schaefer to get the bulk of playing time on Saturday as the coaches begin to prepare for the future.