Players to watch
PK/KOS Jordan Williamson, P Ben Rhyne, KR Ty Montgomery, PR Kodi Whitfield
In his senior season, Jordan Williamson seems to have finally found the consistency that had eluded him for virtually his entire career. After consecutive seasons in which he made less than 70 percent of his field goals, Williamson has made eight of 10 attempts this season, including a 48-yarder against San Jose State. In his kickoff responsibilities, he has only kicked 12 of 31 attempts for touchbacks (38.7 percent), but with a coverage team that allows a conference-second-best 18.6 yards per kickoff return, it's not as if a lack of booming kickoffs is a striking deficiency for the Cardinal.
Punter Ben Rhyne doesn't have the most impressive distance on his punts against conference opponents (just 37.8 yards per attempt), but he's done a phenomenal job of pinning his opponents deep: Against Wazzu, for example, three of his four punts dropped the Cougars behind their 20-yard line, while the fourth landed at the 21. Furthermore, he's shown an ability to boot the ball for distance when necessary, having sent multiple attempts further than 45 yards. His ability to serve UW's offense constant helpings of long fields could be the difference in this game, especially considering the ferocity of Stanford's defense.
Ty Montgomery averages a healthy 25.8 yards per kickoff return, as befits a player who has been his team's leading returner every year that he's played for the Cardinal. His average is very similar to what he's displayed in years past (25.8 yards per return in 2012 and 25.2 in 2011), so it will be interesting to see if he will maintain that production against a Husky team that allows 21 yards per return, third-worst in the conference.
Kodi Whitfield's production this season has come largely on special teams, as the wide receiver has as many punt returns attempted (five) as he does receptions. His longest return is 25 yards and came against Army, which may say more about his competition than it does about him. Through four games, Washington's opponents have attempted just two punt returns for as many yards, so it seems likely that Whitfield won't try to do anything too fancy against Washington's speedy coverage unit.
As always, thanks to College Football Statistics, ESPN and USA Today's College Football Injury Report for the relevant data that went into this article. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking below.
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