Basically I sat and tried to figure out a way in which Washington wins this football game. This is the only scenario – Chris Polk runs for 200 yards, UW controls the ball and kills the clock and the Huskies get a lucky turnover or play on special teams.
When Kansas nearly upset Baylor earlier this year, the Jayhawks – who have a worse defense than UW – were able to keep Baylor’s offense off the field by running for close to 300 yards and holding the ball for nearly 3/4 of the game.
The more opportunities you give RGIII, the worse off you will be.
Could UW win? Yes.
Will UW win? I don’t see all those things going right. In the end, I think Washington will get down a couple of scores and be forced to throw and throw an that will hurt them.
Check out the breakdown below …
Keith Price is good college quarterback and his best football is still ahead of him. But even the Huskies signal caller will admit that his counterpart across the field has the advantage, after all, Robert Griffin III is the Heisman Trophy winner. Griffin leads the nation in passing efficiency at 192.11, and has thrown for 3,998 yards and 36 touchdowns.
Lost in all the Heisman hype surrounding Robert Griffin III is a standout season for running back Terrence Ganaway, who has rushed for 1,347 yards and 16 touchdowns (both school records) on 229 carries. But he’s still the second best back in the game behind Chris Polk. UW’s hard-running workhorse can take over games all by himself with his ability to churn out yards and work the clock.
The Huskies’ receiving corps took a big hit this week when Kevin Smith went down with a sprained knee. Smith likely won’t play in the game. Obviously, Washington still has other solid pass catchers. But Baylor might be deeper and more explosive. Receiver Kendall Wright is an NFL first-round prospect, who has caught 101 passes with 1,572 yards and 13 touchdowns. Teammates Lanear Sampson and Terrence Williams average 16 yards per catch.
For Baylor do what it’s done offensively this season, the offensive line has had to perform at a solid level. It’s a veteran group led by senior all-conference center Phillip Blake and right guard Robert T. Griffin. Washington’s offensive line has played much better in past weeks as the continuity of playing together much of the season has paid off. But the loss of left guard Colin Tanigawa has hurt, though Nick Wood has played admirably in his place.
Neither team was particularly adept at getting to the quarterback this season. Baylor had just 19 sacks this season, in comparison to Washington’s 24. The Huskies defensive line has played much better of late. Nose guard Alameda Ta’amu will be playing injury free for the first time, while freshman Danny Shelton could make an impact. Baylor will be without its best play-making defensive end, Tevin Elliott, who suffered a knee injury late in the season.
Both teams have talented, stalwart middle linebackers to keep the defense in order. Cort Dennison led the Huskies and Pac-12 with 113 tackles this season and has been a calming influence for the team’s freshmen outside linebackers. Baylor’s Elliott Coffey is a fifth-year senior, who moved to middle linebacker this season and has racked up 99 tackles with five tackles for loss.
Washington’s secondary has been up and down like the Sea World roller coaster they experienced earlier this week. They’ve gotten big plays from Desmond Trufant, while others – like Quinton Richardson – have given up big plays. The safeties have been solid behind Sean Parker, but Will Shamburger’s absence hurts their depth, particularly in the nickel package. Baylor’s secondary has given up its share of yards, but has forced 10 interceptions in the last four games and 16 this season. The Bears will play a nickel package most of the game.
The absence of Smith hurts the return game. He was a legitimate touchdown threat and was good at giving Washington good field position on kicks. Freshman Bishop Sankey will likely fill his spot. Erik Folk has missed a few uncharacteristic kicks this season, but he has a knack for late-game heroics and will be kicking in a dome. Baylor kicker Aaron Jones is just 2-of-6 in kicks past 40 yards.
With Waco a short two-hour drive away, the Bears will have a decided home field advantage. The Alamodome is likely to have 64,000 fans in attendance and ¾ will be wearing Baylor’s green and gold. Griffin also seems intent on erasing any notion of the Heisman jinx and has been ultra-focused.
Baylor 52, Washington 31