Greetings from Montlake, where we’re about an hour and a half away from the 106th meeting between Washington and Washington State.
As usual, we have our three keys to a possible UW victory. They are:
1. Give Keith Price time to throw … and keep him off the ground — According to a tweet from Sports Radio KJR’s Dave Mahler, Keith Price will, indeed, start at quarterback in his final game at Husky Stadium. Which makes it paramount for the Huskies offensive line to give him time to throw, and keep him from getting knocked around to the point that he aggravates his sore right shoulder. If Price starts, that means it will be bad news if the Huskies end up turning to Cyler Miles.
Morning. Per source, Keith Price will start at QB today for Washington. Final game for him at Husky Stadium. Apple Cup 1230 on KJR. GO DAWGS— Dave Softy Mahler (@Softykjr) November 29, 2013
2. Mix it up — Always important to get Bishop Sankey going, sure. But defensive coordinator Mike Breske has shown an ability to gameplan well for top-flight running backs, so the Huskies will have to be smart about mixing in play-action passes and using the outside screen game to their advantage. Jaydon Mickens has really come into his own in that regard, and he could play a major factor today in the passing game, especially if Steve Sarkisian elects to call more short, quick throws in order to take some pressure off Price.
3. Win special teams — This was a trouble spot for the Huskies in last year’s Apple Cup, as Andrew Furney made a clutch field goal to tie the game late in regulation, then hit the game-winner in overtime. And UW kicker Travis Coons missed a 35-yard field goal that would have won the game as time expired, with a less-than-ideal snap preceding it. The Huskies have to be much better on special-teams this time around, and it does seem as if they’ve been getting closer and closer to breaking through in the kick return game — John Ross took the opening kick last weekend at Oregon State 62 yards to OSU’s 38-yard line, something that really set the tone for the rest of the game. Perhaps a similar effort today could do the same.
Christian Caple can be reached at email@example.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple