2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 7 - Colorado at Washington
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Oct. 15 at Washington 52 … Colorado 24
CFN Analysis: Keith Price continues to be terrific, and he’s actually proving to be an upgrade over Jake Locker in terms of consistency and playmaking ability. He’s getting help from Chris Polk, who rolled through the Colorado defense for 117 yards, averaging 6.5 yards per shot, and he’s spreading the ball around well using a variety of targets. The Huskies got up early and never let the Buffs get in it, and now at 5-1, there’s talk that they could be in the mix for the North title. However, remember, the best win so far was against Cal; beating Stanford next week would obviously change the national perception, and the team is playing good enough on the lines to hold up.
The Buffs are getting worse by the week, and the big problem now is that they’re getting down early and aren’t able to come back. The offensive line continues to be a nightmare, doing nothing for the ground game and not giving Tyler Hansen any time to work. Now things have gone from bad to worse with Rodney Stewart suffering a knee injury. Tony Jones ran for 49 yards and two scores, but he’s not Stewart. As if the season wasn’t going down fast enough, Oregon and Arizona State are up next.
(AP) SEATTLE -- The names changed with every score Washington posted in its nearly perfect first 30 minutes.
The guy orchestrating Saturday's onslaught remained the same.
Keith Price continued his assault on Washington's record book with four first-half touchdown passes, and Washington made its case for a national ranking with an impressive 52-24 rout of Colorado on Saturday.
Price's TD passes went to four different receivers, setting the tone for the day. Seven different Huskies scored as Washington topped the 50-point mark for the first time in more than 10 years.
"The guy plays. In the football world, he's a baller," Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said. "He just plays the game. I love coaching him. It's fun."
In general, it was an afternoon of continued progression for the Huskies in their continual climb out of their 0-12 hole in 2008 back to Pac-12 legitimacy. The win gave the Huskies their first 5-1 start in a decade, their first 3-0 start in conference play since 1997 and almost certainly a return to the AP Top 25 after barely missing out on the poll the last two weeks.
It also highlighted Washington's ability to handle success. They were favored by two touchdowns, coming off an impressive road victory two weeks ago at Utah. Next week, the Huskies travel to Stanford for a crucial Pac-12 North showdown.
Instead of coming out flat against the overmatched Buffaloes, the Huskies put together a first half that was so impressive Sarkisian felt almost like he was transported back to his days at USC when he helped choreograph the most dynamic offense of its time.
"It's fascinating. It hasn't been this way in a long time for me personally," Sarkisian said. "When I'm calling plays for this football team right now, I'm not calling plays for a specific guy."
The Huskies compiled nearly 400 yards of offense in the first half and led 38-10 at the break behind TD passes of 17, 11, 14 and 4 yards by the sophomore quarterback. Price now has 21 TDs on the season, tied for fourth most in Washington history for single-season TD passes with six games remaining.
Washington (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) has now scored at least 30 points or more in its first six games for the first time in school history. The 52 points were the most since posting 53 on Idaho in September 2001.
The Huskies scored on all six possessions in the first half and did not punt until the opening drive of the second half when a penalty slowed their march near midfield.
Price exploited the middle of Colorado's defense and didn't make any risky throws. He threw just four incompletions in the first half and when he did make a bad toss, he answered immediately.
The example: Price missed Devin Aguilar for a potential touchdown midway through the second quarter, but on the next play, he found running back Chris Polk for a 14-yard TD to give the Huskies a 28-10 lead.
"We could have (struck) earlier than we did. I just overthrew that ball," Price said. "But I think we're getting better."
Price added TD throws of 17 yards to Jermaine Kearse, 11 yards to Austin Seferian-Jenkins and 4 yards to Aguilar to round out his total. Kevin Smith added a 22-yard TD run on a reverse in the first quarter, becoming the first Washington player other than Polk or former quarterback Jake Locker to score a rushing touchdown since Sept. 12, 2009. Jesse Callier and Bishop Sankey also had rushing touchdowns for the Huskies.
Polk didn't find the end zone rushing, but did top 100 yards for the 16th time in his Washington career, one behind Napoleon Kaufman's school record. Polk finished with 117 yards on 18 carries.
Playing healthy for the first time since the season opener after suffering knee and ankle injuries, Price finished 21 of 28 for 257 yards, didn't commit a turnover and wasn't sacked. Price was the beneficiary of a timely bye week and used it to heal.
"Keith was just feeding everyone and everyone was making plays when the opportunity came," Kearse said.
Price exited the game with 1:05 left in the third quarter and was replaced by redshirt freshman Nick Montana, son of Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana. On his first college play, Montana was sacked from behind, fumbled and Colorado recovered.
The turnover led to Tony Jones' second TD run of the second half for Colorado, but that amounted to the majority of the Buffaloes' highlights. Colorado (1-6, 0-3) lost its 21st consecutive road game and the loudest cheer from the gold and black clad fans in the west end zone came when the Buffaloes finally forced Washington to punt.
Colorado can chalk up the loss as part of the transition period as it gets acclimated to the Pac-12. The Buffaloes were hampered by a knee injury running back Rodney Stewart sustained in the first quarter, which led to his early exit from the game. Stewart and the Buffaloes racked up 70 yards on their first possession and had 199 the rest of the game.
Colorado QB Tyler Hansen was 18 of 30 for 155 yards and a 5-yard TD pass to Kyle Cefalo on the Buffaloes opening drive. By the time Colorado found the end zone again in the third quarter, they were down 38-17.
"They have to go out and compete and have some pride," Colorado coach Jon Embree said. "There's nothing magical you can tell them. We have what we have so we have to understand when we're out there."
Colorado (1-5) at Washington (4-1) Oct. 15, 3:30, Root Sports
Here’s The Deal … With Seattle in the backdrop, Colorado and Washington will renew acquaintances for the first time in more than a decade. The Huskies, who were off last week, have emerged as one of the surprise teams of the early stages of the season. Labeled by many as a transitional year, U-Dub impressively defeated conference foes Cal and Utah leading up to the break. The upset of the Utes as a decided underdog has rebooted expectations on Montlake for the second half of the year.
While the calendar says 2011, the Buffaloes are preparing as if it’s already 2012. Now 1-5 in his debut at his alma mater, head coach Jon Embree has begun to sprinkle in some rookies to learn alongside the veterans, partly by design and partly out of necessity. Colorado received a 60-minute reminder a week ago of how far it is from the Pac-12 penthouse, bowing meekly to Stanford, 48-7.
Why Colorado Might Win: Prior to last week, the Buffs were flashing intermittent signs of potential on offense. It’ll have a chance to recapture that trend this week against a Washington defense that was having a particularly tough time stopping the pass before the break. Colorado will counter with seasoned QB Tyler Hansen, who has thrown a dozen touchdown passes and only three picks.
His challenge, besides avoiding ball-hawking Huskies CB Desmond Trufant, will be to form a bond with other receivers now that star Paul Richardson is out with a sprained knee. He’ll continue to employ RB Rodney Stewart on dump-offs, but more production will be needed from the veterans, such as WR Toney Clemons and TE Ryan Deehan.
Why Washington Might Win: A languishing Colorado defense is unlikely to get on track against a Huskies attack that is just beginning to heat up. The Buffaloes have yielded at least 31 points in all but the Colorado State game, struggling mightily when the ball is in the air.
Enter QB Keith Price, one of college football biggest surprises of 2011. Jake Locker’s successor has already thrown 17 touchdown passes, spreading the wealth around to Devin Aguilar, Jermaine Kearse, James Johnson and precocious TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins. As if the visitors won’t have enough to worry about, RB Chris Polk ranks second to Oregon’s LaMichael James with 611 yards on the ground.
What To Watch Out For: Was Washington’s last defensive performance in Salt Lake City a fluke or a harbinger of things to come? The latter would bring the Huskies one giant step closer to being a complete team. They played their best game two weeks ago, creating five turnovers and holding the Utes to 17 yards on the ground. Blue-collar LB Cort Dennison has once again emerged as the leader of coordinator Nick Holt’s crew. The sure-tackler has made at least 10 stops in three of the last four contests, and leads the team with four tackles for loss.
What Will Happen: Only multiple layers of rust or a lack of focus will prevent Washington from handling a fading Colorado team this weekend. The Huskies are confident and meshing at an ideal juncture of the season. They’ll poke a few more holes into that Buffaloes defense, delivering a nice blend of Price’s passes and the determined running of Polk. Once U-Dub builds a double-digit cushion, it’ll be too much for a Colorado attack that’s going to miss the field-stretching ability of Richardson on the outside.
CFN Prediction: Washington 37 … Colorado 16
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Washington -14.5 O/U: 59.5
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