Week 14 - Washington State at Washington

Posted Nov 29, 2013

Week 14 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Washington State at Washington

Washington State (6-5) at Washington (7-4) Nov. 29, 3:30, Fox

Why You Should Give A Hoot: For the first time since 2002, both Apple Cup participants will start the game over .500.

Washington State is about to break a decade-long bowl drought, turning a corner in Mike Leach's second season on the Palouse. The Cougars are an improbable 4-4 in Pac-12 play, rising up the conference ranks with consecutive wins over Arizona and Utah. Who lit U-Dub's fuse? The Huskies, which were without injured starting QB Keith Price and were stumbling throughout the second half of the year, came out of nowhere to annihilate Oregon State in Corvallis, 69-27. With a win on Friday afternoon, the Huskies will ascend above the seven-win campaigns that have vexed Steve Sarkisian and the program over the last three seasons.

Why Washington State Might Win: The Cougars have relocated the defensive swagger that it had at the beginning of the season. Sure, they give up plenty of yards, but they compensate with big plays out of the secondary. Wazzu has ball-hawks on the last line of defense in CB Damante Horton and S Deone Bucannon, jumping routes and taking errant throws back the other way. The Cougar D will either be facing Price at less than 100% or redshirt freshman Cyler Miles, who's still learning on the job.

Why Washington Might Win: The one dimension of the Washington State attack—the passing game—won't be enough to solve the speed and talent of the Washington defense. The Huskies are dotted with next-level players, like DE Hau'oli Kikaha, NT Danny Shelton, LB John Timu, S Sean Parker and CB Marcus Peters. Turnover-prone Cougar QB Connor Halliday will have a difficult time solving a Washington secondary that ranks 16th nationally in pass efficiency defense.

Who To Watch Out For: Sarkisian was very pleased with the play of Miles last week, but obviously he hopes Price will be ready. Either way, the Huskies will lean heavily on RB Bishop Sankey, a finalist for the Doak Walker Award.

- If the Cougars are going to beat Washington for a second straight year, it'll needs Holliday to limit his mistakes, which hasn't happened often. The way the Huskies played last week, Wazzu can ill-afford to give them extra chances on turnovers.

- WR Jaydon Mickens has done a solid job of picking up the slack since Kasen Williams was lost to injury last month. The sophomore leads the team with 60 catches for 679 yards and five touchdowns, giving opponents pause before doubling TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

What Will Happen: Washington has waited a year to get revenge on Washington State for last season's blown 18-point lead in Pullman. The Huskies will get it, too, behind the running of Sankey and a few timely takeaways from the defense. U-Dub is emboldened by last week's complete effort, playing with a level of confidence that'll be too much for the inconsistent Cougars.

Prediction: Washington 37 … Washington State 24
Line: Washington -14 o/u: 65
Must See Rating: (5 American Hustle – 1 The Sound of Music Live!) … 2.5
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