UW Huskies Insider

Breaking down the Apple Cup unit by unit

Post by Todd Dybas / The News Tribune on Nov. 23, 2012 at 9:39 am with No Comments »
November 23, 2012 9:39 am

Here’s a rundown by position group of who has the advantage where:

WASHINGTON HUSKIES (7-4, 5-3) at WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS (2-9, 0-8)

12:30 p.m. today, Martin Stadium, Pullman; TV: Ch. 13; radio: 950-AM, 102.9-FM (UW); 710-AM, 104.3-FM (WSU)

THE MATCHUPS

QUARTERBACK

UW’s Keith Price has produced a mediocre year following enormous preseason expectations. He’s been better of late, throwing for five touchdowns against Colorado last week. WSU’s pass-first, and almost only, philosophy has it leading the conference in passing yards. The assumption is Jeff Tuel will start because Connor Halliday is reported to be injured (thought to be a concussion). The Cougars throw it a ton, but are 11th in Pac-12 in pass efficiency. THE EDGE: UW

RUNNING BACKS

Like last year, this is not close. Bishop Sankey is putting together one of the better years a Washington running back has had. He has 13 rushing touchdowns, which is 10 more than the entire Washington State team. The Cougars average 30 rushing yards … per game. THE EDGE: UW

RECEIVERS

Even with the departure of Marquess Wilson, the Cougars still have options at receiver. Gabe Marks is having a solid freshman season with 47 catches for 547 yards. But, Kasen Williams (63 catches, 700 yards) and Austin Seferian-Jenkins (58 catches for 753 yards) form a more potent duo than the Cougars can produce without Wilson. THE EDGE: UW

OFFENSIVE LINE

Washington’s line has fluctuated, much like its offense, throughout the season. After all the changes because of injury and inability, it appears the Huskies have settled down on the line. They could still be much better, however. It’s tough to grade the Cougars’ line since they throw it so much. Washington State has allowed the most sacks in the conference, while throwing it 119 more times than anyone else in the Pac-12. THE EDGE: EVEN

DEFENSIVE LINE

Even if defensive end Travis Long doesn’t play, the Cougars have the advantage here. UW has tried all sorts of tricks and mixes on the defensive line this season to produce a pass rush. It’s rarely worked. The Huskies reached such a point of desperation that they often put Seferian-Jenkins on the line on third down. The Cougars are fifth in the conference in sacks, primarily thanks to Long, who is tied for fifth in the conference with 9.5. Even without him – he’s unlikely to play because of a reported knee injury – the Cougars still have a viable pass rush. THE EDGE: WSU

LINEBACKERS

This has been an excellent group for Washington this season in the 3-4 and hybrid schemes of defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. Travis Feeney and Shaq Thompson are two young Washington linebackers who have star potential. Middle linebacker John Timu has improved his tackling to become solid in the center for the Huskies. Redshirt freshman Darryl Monroe is the Cougars’ second-leading tackler. Sophomore Cyrus Coen has made big plays thanks to three sacks and three interceptions. Washington’s group is better as a whole. THE EDGE: UW

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Huskies cornerback Desmond Trufant should be a full go after sitting out last week against Colorado because of a strained hamstring. His opposite corner, Marcus Peters, has played well since becoming the starter. Safety Sean Parker is Washington’s best hitter. Washington State’s safety tandem of Casey Locker (cousin of ex-UW QB Jake Locker) and Deone Bucannon is the strength of its defense. Each is a good tackler, big hitter and reckless at times. Bucannon is fourth in the conference in tackles. THE EDGE: EVEN

SPECIAL TEAMS

Washington has been close to breaking a long return for a touchdown all season. Of course, close is for horseshoes, hand grenades and inane political arguments. The Huskies’ kick coverage has been outstanding. However, their punting has been poor. The Huskies’ Travis Coons is last in the conference at 38.6 yards per punt. Washington State’s Michael Bowlin is a little better at 41.9 yards per punt. Teondray Caldwell is a kick returner with some juice for the Cougars. THE EDGE: EVEN

INTANGIBLES

It’s supposed to be a clear day, so rule out weather concerns. This is also a game between teams on two distinct trajectories. Washington is on its way up, at the moment, and Washington State is about to wrap up a disastrous first season under Mike Leach. THE EDGE: UW

THE PICK

On paper, this shouldn’t be close. In this paper, we’ll follow that idea. Washington 35, Washington State 17

Leave a comment Comments
*
We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0