2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 13, Wazzu at Washington
Pac-12 Fearless Predictions &
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Nov. 26 at Washington 38 … Washington State 21
CFN Analysis: COMING
(AP) SEATTLE -- Keith Price threw three touchdown passes to become Washington's all-time single-season leader in that category, the final one a 22-yard toss to Chris Polk, and Washington held off rival Washington State 38-21 on Saturday night to win the 104th Apple Cup.
Price threw his 29th touchdown pass of the season midway through the third quarter, finding Polk to give the Huskies a 28-14 lead. Washington State pulled within 28-21, but Erik Folk's 46-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter pushed the lead to 10 and Polk capped the Huskies third straight Apple Cup title on Polk's 1-yard TD run with 5:23 left.
Price, who sat out last week's loss at Oregon State due to injury, finished 21 of 29 for 291 yards.
The Huskies (7-5, 5-4 Pac-12) snapped a three-game losing streak and sent the Cougars (4-8, 2-7) into an offseason filled with questions.
Washington State (4-7) at Washington (6-5) Nov. 26, 7:30, Versus
Here’s The Deal … Washington has won the last two Apple Cups. A third straight in the series might begin to heal some of the program’s psychological wounds. Maybe.
Although it’s hard to imagine these days, U-Dub was actually ranked at one point in the middle of October. It was just last month, but it feels much longer, especially around Seattle. Since peaking at 5-1, the Huskies have performed like Tyrone Willingham production, dropping four of the last five games. The first three losses were mildly acceptable since all three opponents, Stanford, Oregon and USC were ranked. The latest, however, was not. Washington got whipped, 38-21, in Corvallis by an Oregon State team that had already been eliminated from postseason contention. It’s a good thing that the Huskies notched win No. 6 last month, or else they, too, might be on the outside looking in.
Wazzu’s quest for a coveted bowl invitation ended with a bitter overtime loss to Utah in Pullman a week ago. The teams traded blows in an exciting fourth quarter, but the Cougars were unable to execute in the extra session. The attention on the Palouse now turns to Paul Wulff, whose future as the head coach is hanging on by a thread.
Why Washington State Might Win: The bottom has fallen out on the Washington defense, which has yielded an average of 41 points over the last five games. Yeah, QB Connor Halliday is out with a lacerated kidney, but reserve Marshall Lobbestael is no stranger to the huddle. The successor to original starter Jeff Tuel has thrown for 16 scores and 2,240 yards, while building chemistry with a terrific ensemble of Wazzu receivers.
The Huskies have been unable to generate much of a pass rush in 2011, which will give Lobbestael the time he needs to find Jared Karstetter on crossing patterns, and Marquess Wilson and Isiah Barton behind the defensive backs. Wilson is one of the most underrated long ball hitters in America, catching 75 balls for 1,280 yards and 10 touchdowns from the trio of passers.
Why Washington Might Win: While Washington State has lost a quarterback, the Huskies have returned one. Linchpin Keith Price is expected back after being limited by injury to just a couple of series. He was the spark that lit the offensive fuse earlier in the earlier, distributing the ball to myriad receivers, like Jermaine Kearse, rookie Kasen Williams and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins. A healthy Price, coupled with every-down back Chris Polk, gives Washington the balance and versatility that the staff is after. Polk is the league’s third-leading rusher, battering opponents with a physical style and will to drive for extra yards. The Cougars have been exposed by multi-dimensional attacks this fall, giving up at least 30 points in six of the last nine games.
What To Watch Out For: The Washington secondary better not make any assumptions because a backup will be under center. For a time, it looked as if Lobbestael might create a quarterback controversy, and unseat a healthy Tuel, chucking 15 touchdown passes in his first five games. He has decent arm strength and dangerous targets running routes. Desmond Trufant is the Huskies’ top cover corner, but the team is going to need a couple more like him in order to put a spoke in the Cougars’ wheels.
What Will Happen: Like all rivalries at this time of year, you can throw out the records; the past 11 regular season games don’t matter much when the Apple Cup is at stake. These two schools have had a habit of playing competitive, high-scoring games over the past decade. This edition will follow the script. Both teams will exploit their opponent’s weaknesses on defense, trading blows for all 60 minutes. The difference in an entertaining slugfest will be the Washington balance, which will keep Wazzu guessing all evening.
CFN Prediction: Washington 35 … Washington State 31
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Washington -7.5 O/U: 58
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