It's a predictably unhappy lot around these parts lately with Washington on a two-game skid to drop the Huskies to 3-4 on the season and just 1-3 in conference play. With bowl hopes up in the air this looms as a critical game for the Dawgs - one of their better chances to pick up another win over the next five weeks. How do we see this game playing out? Read on...
It hasn't been a whole lot of fun being a Husky football fan the last couple of weeks. First, another loss in a string that has gone on waaaaay too long vs. the Ducks and then a beat-down at Stanford that wasn't as close as the score suggested leaving the Huskies at 3-4 and with seemingly all the positive momentum from the USC win gone. Oh, and our touted true freshman QB went down at the end of the Oregon game with an injury, missed the Stanford game and his official status is "day-to-day", and now the Huskies have to kick off a game on Halloween night at 8PM in unpleasant weather.
Well, cheer up Husky fans - this should be a game to get folks feeling a bit better about our Dawgs. I don't think it will be a blowout, nor do I think our offense will explode for 40 points. But I think a win is coming our way to get us back to .500 and keep bowl game hopes alive and I think we'll see enough offense against a depleted and poor Wildcat defense to tone down the grumbling, even if just a small amount.
I suspect it won't be pretty - with rain basically guaranteed and windy conditions likely, there's a good chance the game will look sloppy at times with errant passes and the ball on the turf. But I like the chances of our defense to keep a lid on the Wildcats and keep them from going off, and I think the Huskies will be able to build off the recent success in the run game from Myles Gaskin and Jake Browning will return to the lineup and have an efficient game with a few big throws. Add in what has consistently been plus Special Teams play from the Huskies and I see a win. It may be a back-and-forth affair that isn't settled until late, but I like the Dawgs to win 27-24
It will be a dark and stormy night at Husky Stadium and the Husky passing game has been downright scary. With or without Jake Browning, the Huskies have not done much in the air. Add to that the predicted wind and rain and this game will boil down to who can stop the run game. Myles Gaskin is proving to be the feature back for the Husky offense. Arizona counters with a 3-headed monster of RBs Nick Wilson, Jered Baker and QB Jerrard Randall. Of course, there's Anu Solomon too but Randall is predicted to be the starter on Saturday making it the only backfield in America with a Jered and a Jerrard.
Give the edge to the Dawgs due to home field advantage. Hopefully this game won't resemble the cold, blustery night against ASU last October. Talk about scary. UW 27 Arizona 21
Finally... a game where I like the Huskies' chances. I think the Husky offense will continue to struggle, even against a defense as bad as Arizona's (Hey, they aren't any worse than Oregon's that stymied them) but they finally commit to the run a little bit and are able to ride Myles Gaskin and some trickery/special teams to put some points on the board. It's a tight one throughout, but the stellar Husky defense that wasn't able to pry a turnover out of Oregon and Stanford's stingy offenses get back to taking the ball a few times to help out the offense and maybe even take one back for a TD that makes the difference. Washington 26 Arizona 24
Worst versus worst. If the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were ever to take on Costa Rica in an ice hockey match, it might resemble the spectacle that will be the UW offense against the Arizona defense in the Seattle elements.
Yup. Your mama says you ugy.
I don't feel really great about the Huskies in this one. We've reached the time of the year where injuries are affecting every team and the Dawgs are no exception. The one side of the ball that they've been able to count on is now getting challenged with depth at just the same time that an Arizona offense that will stress you with volumes of plays is arriving into town. On the flip side, an impotent Husky offense has given the team very little hope that they have the capability or the leadership required to establish any kind of momentum or to nail enough explosive plays to be a legitimate threat on any given Saturday.
That said, the Huskies do have two factors that might work in their favor. The first is the weather. A torrid rainfall fueled by sideways winds will certainly affect the Wildcats and their offense more than UW's defense. This is the kind of weather that can help the Dawgs pull those 'Cats right down into the mud with them.
The second is the offensive coordinator issue. The reality is that the Husky offense has been equal parts incompetent and incompetently called all season. Maybe this is the week we go for it on 4th and 1 from the 35. Maybe this is the week we play the hot hand. Maybe this is the week we call plays that work to the strengths of the people we've put on the field. In short, maybe this is the week our offensive coaching actually becomes a contributing factor to the gameday situation as opposed to something more akin to booth furniture.
Sadly, I'm not seeing it. I think this one is going to be a slog for both teams, but I think that Arizona is going to do what everybody else seems to be doing against UW - doubling our play count and leaving our defense hung out to dry - even in the pouring rain. They may not get into the end zone every time, but I think they'll wear us out and leave us all freaked out about the notion that bowl eligibility went from a "maybe" to a "probably not" situation. Arizona 23, UW 13.