Greetings from Husky Stadium, where Washington will host California in a game that will hopefully end before midnight.
As you can see in the photo above, “DJ” emblems have been added to the turf here in honor of longtime coach Don James, who died Sunday at age 80. There will also be pregame and halftime tributes to James tonight.
As usual, we have our three keys to a possible UW victory for you. We’ll also begin our live game chat/thread tonight at 7, so stop by for that, if you feel so inclined.
On to the keys …
1. Run, Bishop, Run — Be stunned if Bishop Sankey finishes this game with 13 carries. Be very stunned. Steve Sarkisian made it pretty clear he wants to get back to the Huskies’ winning formula of giving Sankey the ball a whole bunch of times, and watch him run for a whole bunch of yards. Sankey can crack the 1,000-yard mark if he rushes for 78 yards or more, and that’s a number he might be able to surpass at halftime if the Bears’ defense plays the way it has all season. That is: poorly.
2. Pressure Goff — Jared Goff, California’s true freshman quarterback, held onto his job for another week after facing competition from backup Zach Kline. Washington needs to pressure him. Goff has thrown seven interceptions this season, but has shown the ability to get Cal’s offense moving — having receivers like Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper certainly helps — when he gets in rhythm. It’s up to UW’s pass rush to make sure he doesn’t get comfortable. Washington’s lack of pressure on Marcus Mariota and Taylor Kelly really hurt it against Oregon and Arizona State, and the Huskies’ work in the trenches has been lacking. Chase Goff out of the pocket early, and the Huskies can keep him rattled throughout.
3. Score first — Lots of questions this week about UW’s quarterback play, and whether Keith Price is healthy enough to handle the duties there by himself. He’ll start tonight, a move that more than a few fans surely question. A touchdown on UW’s first possession would go a long way toward quieting some of the doubts about whether Price should be playing.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple