2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 4 - California at Washington
Pac-12 Fearless Predictions &
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Sept. 24 at Washington 31 … California 23
CFN Analysis: Washington is 3-1 and now looks far better and far stronger than expected thanks to the play of Keith Price and a strong passing game that’s able to take control of games and able to respond with big drives after the D gives up points. The secondary has been a problem and the running game was mediocre against Cal, but the Huskies have shown they can be good enough and consistent enough to be a player in the North. Chris Polk ran for 60 yards and a score and caught four passes for 85 yards with a 70-yard score, but for now, this is Price’s team and Price’s season. Now he has to come up with a big win on the road, going to Utah next.
The Bears continue to struggle on the road, and now, they have to prove they can beat a good team. The two impressive wins came against Fresno State and Presbyterian, and with a trip to Oregon coming up next, this was a tough loss they couldn’t afford. Zach Maynard is throwing well, bombing away for 349 yards and a score, and Keenan Allen caught ten passes for 197 yards and a score, but the defense couldn’t come up with the key stop late and the offense fizzled in the second half. The linebackers have been good, and now they have to be special to have a shot against the Ducks.
(AP) SEATTLE -- Keith Price threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns and Chris Polk added a touchdown on the ground as Washington knocked off California 31-23 to get off to their best start in six years.
In the conference opener for both teams, Price picked his way through the California secondary as Washington improved to 3-1 for the first time since 2006.
Both teams traded field goals to open the second half before Washington regained control. Price connected with a wide-open Polk down the middle of the field for a 70-yard touchdown to swing the momentum back in Washington's favor as the Huskies took a 31-23 lead.
California (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) faced a short fourth down from the Washington 36-yard line with under seven minutes left to play. Zach Maynard's pass to Isi Sofele was broken up by Cort Dennison to give Washington the ball and grind a couple minutes off the clock before California got the ball back with 4:19 left to play.
On the game's final drive, Maynard converted on three straight third downs to move California into Washington territory. A pass interference call on Desmond Trufant gave California a first down at the Washington 21-yard line with 48 seconds left. Maynard, who threw for 349 yards and a touchdown on the day, connected with Allen for 19 yards down to the Washington 2-yard line.
An incompletion and a pair of runs left California facing fourth down from the 2-yard line. Maynard's fourth-down pass for Allen sailed high and out of the endzone as Washington held on for the victory with a stout defensive stand.
The game was defined by its big plays from both sides. Maynard found Keenan Allen wide open on a busted coverage running straight down the hashmarks early in the first quarter. Allen broke an attempted tackle by Quinton Richardson and tumbled into the endzone for a 90-yard touchdown to give California an early 7-0 lead. The scoring toss was the longest reception in school history.
Price and the Huskies answered quickly, moving 66 yards on three plays. Price hit Devin Aguilar for 44 yards to advance deep into California territory. Price then danced through California defenders before scrambling right and finding Seferian-Jenkins wide open downfield. Seferian-Jenkins crashed through a defender at the goal line and into the endzone to even the game at 7-7.
After a three-and-out by Cal, Price led the Huskies on an 8-play, 65-yard scoring drive culminating in a 2-yard touchdown run from Keith Price to give the Huskies a 14-7 lead at the 3:30 mark in the first quarter.
After a 29-yard field goal by Giorgio Tavecchio, California held Washington on a short third down from their own 41-yard line, but coach Jeff Tedford elected to accept a holding penalty on Seferian-Jenkins and back the Huskies up. Price connected with Kevin Smith for 12 yards on a long third down as Washington kept the drive alive. Five plays later, Price found Seferian-Jenkins for a 20-yard touchdown to take a 21-10 lead.
Tavecchio connected from 36-yards out to pull within eight and California got the ball right back after Price fumbled on the first play of Washington's next drive. Maynard completed passes of 17 yards to Allen and 15 yards to Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson to get inside the Washington 5-yard line. C.J. Anderson scored from a yard out to close the gap to 21-20 wifth just over a minute to play in the first half.
California (3-0) at Washington (2-1) Sept. 24, 3:30, Fox Sports Net
Here’s The Deal … Oregon and Stanford are the undeniable class of the Pac-12 North. Just behind the Ducks, and itching to break through are Cal and Washington. The two meet this week in Seattle, trying to keep longshot hopes for divisional supremacy alive and well. The Bears have jumped out to a tidy 3-0 start, which has included wins over Fresno State and Colorado. In Week 3, they destroyed Presbyterian, 63-12, getting significant reps for the backups after halftime. This is a pivotal year for head coach Jeff Tedford, who’d begin stockpiling some much-needed goodwill with a 4-0 start.
The Huskies suffered their first loss of the season, a 51-38 defeat to Nebraska in Lincoln. U-Dub was looking for a breakthrough moment, but instead left the field with even more question marks. Fraught with inconsistency since the opening weekend, Washington is seeking the kind of turning point or complete effort that can become a trend for the younger players on the two-deep.
Why Cal Might Win: The Bears are going up against a Washington defense that appears to have regressed from the tail end of 2010, ranking last in the Pac-12 in points allowed. When faced with an athletic quarterback on Saturday, like the one it’ll see in Cal’s Zach Maynard, the Huskies got blistered for six touchdowns and more than 300 yards rushing. The visitors are also excited about their main skill position players, RB Isi Sofele and receivers Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen. On defense, the ninth-ranked Bears run D has shown a knack for making opposing teams one-dimensional by flooding the field with athletic linebackers and safeties.
Why Washington Might Win: The Huskies are becoming more and more confident in young QB Keith Price, who plans to challenge a Cal secondary that yielded 474 passing yards to Colorado two weeks ago. Price is coming off a four-touchdown game that highlighted the skills of top receivers Jermaine Kearse and James Johnson. Washington can also soften the tough Bears defense with the tough inside running of Chris Polk. The U-Dub D, while struggling to find an identity, is capable of clogging up the middle of the line with massive DT Alameda Ta’amu and tag-team partner Everrette Thompson.
What To Watch Out For: Polk has rushed for at least 100 yards in five straight games. Getting to No. 6 in-a-row will be a challenge. Cal is giving up just 2.3 yards per carry, employing a 3-4 defense that collapses to the ball very quickly. The Bears’ front seven will cause fits for an average Washington offensive line. Linebackers Mychal Kendricks and D.J. Holt are the catalysts for the unit, getting off the ball and on the ballcarrier in a hurry. Polk is making his yards this fall, but is still taking a lot of hits close to the line of scrimmage, a trend that isn’t expected to be snapped Saturday afternoon.
What Will Happen: Both teams have lacked consistency this month, but Cal’s is going to catch up to it in Week 4. The Bears are particularly hard to figure out on the road, needing overtime to beat Colorado two weeks ago. Washington is improving on offense, possessing the playmakers to solve one of the Pac-12’s better defenses. While Price will toss two more touchdown passes, Polk will serve as the workhorse, grinding out 125 yards and the difference-making touchdown on 30 carries.
CFN Prediction: Washington 31 … Cal 27
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Line: Washington -3 O/U: 58.5
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