Huskies' path easier; only 4-pt. underdog to Cal

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by Sportspress Northwest Staff

SportsPressNorthwest

Posted on November 3, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Kasen Williams, Washington's leading receiver, ranks 10th in the Pac-12 with 62.9 yards per game. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

GAME:Washington (4-4 overall, 2-2 Pac-12) at California (3-6 overall, 2-4 Pac-12). WHEN: Friday, 6 p.m., Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, CA. MEETING: 93rd (Washington leads 50-38-4).COACHES: Steve Sarkisian, Washington; Jeff Tedford, California. RANKINGS: Neither ranked. LINE: California by 4. TV: ESPN2. RADIO: KJR-950 AM, 102.9 FM.

Needing two victories in their final four games to become bowl eligible, the Washington Huskies play the first of three remaining road games Friday when they take on the Cal Bears at the newly renovated Memorial Stadium. The primary matchup figures to be Cal's rushing offense, which has been excellent, vs. Washington's rushing defense which, charitably, has been pathetic.

Cal's top three rushers -- C.J. Anderson (513 yards), Isi Sofele (477) and Brendan Bigelow (343) -- have combined for 1,333 yards through nine games. The trio is attempting to become the first at Cal to combine for 2,000 rushing yards since Shane Vereen (952), Jahvid Best (867) and Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson (211) ran for a combined 2,030 yards in 2009.

Although Cal's rushing attack has been held to a 78-yard average over the last two games after averaging 220.7 in the previous three, Bigelow was able to rattle off his third touchdown run of 50-plus yards at Utah last week when he scored on a 57-yard TD. He is averaging 12.7 yards on 27 carries.

The last time a Cal running back had three rushes of 50 or more yards in a season was Best in 2009 (61, 73, 93). Bigelow's other two 50-plus yard TD runs came at Ohio State when he rushed for a career and team-high 160 yards on four carries to become only the second FBS player in the last decade to have more than 150 yards rushing on five or fewer carries.

One of Bigelow's runs at Ohio State was an 81-yard touchdown that was the longest rush by a Cal player since a 93-yard touchdown run by Best at UCLA in 2009, and the longest run by an opponent in the history of Ohio Stadium. Bigelow also had another score of 59 yards at Ohio State.

Washington ranks 11th in the Pac-12 in rushing yards allowed per game at 185.1 after "holding" Oregon State 122 yards last week. UW's 185.1 rushing yards allowed represents a backslide from 2011, when the Huskies surrendered 167.5 per contest.

Washington is entering the easiest portion of its schedule after coming through the first part with a 4-4 record. According to the NCAA, the UW has played the second-toughest schedule in the nation. The UW's first eight opponents are 47-17 (.734) while the remaining four foes are 9-24 (.273). The UW's first five Pac-12 opponents are 31-8 (.795), with two of those losses to the UW.

If the game is within 10 points, edge goes to the Huskies. UW is unbeaten in its last 10 contests decided by less than 10 points.

Friday's game is the second the Huskies play in a six-day span (defeated Oregon State Saturday). This is the first time since 1944 that the Huskies have played twice in six days or fewer (in 1944, UW played USC Monday, Oct. 23, and Cal Saturday).

SERIES: Dates to Nov. 24, 1904, when Washington and California played to a 6-6 tie in Seattle. Washington has won four of the past five meetings, including 31-23 in 2011, in a game in which UW quarterback Keith Price threw two TD passes to Austin Seferian-Jenkins and a 70-yard scoring pass to Chris Polk.

UW HEAD COACH: Steve Sarkisian (23-23-0) is in his fourth season. After a 5-7 record in 2009, Sarkisian guided the Huskies to a 7-6 record in 2010, which ended with a 19-7 victory over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. That marked Washington's first postseason game since the 2002 Sun Bowl. Sarkisian coached the Huskies to another 7-6 record in 2011, including a berth opposite Baylor in the Alamo Bowl. Prior to joining the Huskies, Sarkisian served as a USC assistant under Pete Carroll (2001-03, 2005-08). He also worked as an Oakland Raiders assistant in 2004. Sarkisian played quarterback at Brigham Young University and later played in the Canadian Football League.UW STATS / NOTES

  • SEASON SUMMARY: Record: 4-4. Home: 4-1. Road: 0-3. Neutral: 0-0. Vs. Pac-12: 2-3. Vs. Pac-12 North: 2-1. Vs. Pac-12 South: 0-2. Vs. Non-Conference: 2-1. Points For: 165 (20.6). Rushing Yards Per Game: 126.1. Passing Yards Per Game: 196.1. Total Offense Per Game: 322.6. Points Against: 224 (28.0). Opp. Rushing Yards Per Game: 185.1. Opp. Passing Yards Per Game: 201.2. Total Defense Per Game: 386.4.
  • PAC-12 RANKS: Scoring Offense -- T10 (20.6); Scoring Defense -- 8th (28.0); Total Offense -- 10th (322.2); Total Defense -- 7th (386.4); Rushing Offense -- 8th (126.1); Rushing Defense -- 11th (185.1); Passing Offense -- 11th (196.1); Pass Defense -- 2nd (201.2); Passing Efficiency -- 11th (110.3).
  • RB Bishop Sankey ranks fifth in the Pac-12 in rushing at 83.2 yards per game; nine touchdowns.
  • QB Keith Price ranks 9th in passing yards per game (191.2) and 10th in passing efficiency (111.2).
  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins has 40 receptions and needs nine to set the single-season record by a tight end, held by Jerramy Stevens in 2000. Seferian-Jenkins also needs 14 catches to set a career record for receptions by a tight end. Seferian-Jenkins has 81, and the record by Mark Bruener was set between 1991-94.
  • WR Kasen Williams is 9th in the conference with 5.8 receptions per game and 10th in yards (62.9).
  • Jaydon Mickens ranks fifth in kick return average at 23.9 yards per game.
  • Cory Littleton became the 10th Husky freshman to play when he started at Oregon.
  • 16 players made their UW debut vs. San Diego State while five more made their collegiate debuts in the game at LSU. Against Portland State, an additional 10 players got on the field for the first time and one more did so at Oregon, meaning that 32 Huskies have played in their first UW games this season.
HUSKIES OFFENSIVE LEADERSRushing

PlayerGAtt.YardsTDsLongY/G
Bishop Sankey814766696183.2
Erich Wilson42514013135.0
Kendyl Taylor81810703013.4
Dezden Petty6299901716.5
Total827610091061126.1
Opponents830814811157185.1
Passing

PlayerGAtt.Cmp.YardsTDs/INTEffic.
Keith Price826816115308 /9111.2
Total827416415698 /10110.3
Opponents8220122161014 /11127.9
Receiving

PlayerGRec.YardsTDLongY/G
Kasen Williams84650343562.9
A. Seferian-Jenkins84047834059.8
Bishop Sankey81810601513.2
Jaydon Mickens81511202414.0
Kendyl Taylor810590117.4
D. Campbell899612112.0
Kevin Smith76680229.7
M. Hartvigson86550316.9
Cody Bruns8518082.2
Totals81641569940196.1
Opponents812216101470201.2
HUSKIES DEFENSIVE LEADERS

CategorySkinny
TacklesParker 45, Timu 45, Glenn 45, Thompson 44
SacksFeeney, Hudson, Shirley, 2.0
InterceptionsPeters 3, Glenn 2, six with 1
Passes DefensedPeters 8, Trufant 5, Watson 5
Forced FumblesParker 2, Feeney, Fuimaono, Shirley 1
Fumbles RecoveredTutogi, Glenn, Hudson, Shamberger 1
Pac-12 Standings / North

SchoolsOverallConf.Next
Oregon8-05-0Saturday at USC, 4 p.m., FOX
Oregon St.6-14-1Saturday vs. ASU, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Stanford6-24-1Saturday at Colorado, 11 a.m., FX
Washington4-42-3Friday at Cal, 6 p.m., ESPN2
California3-62-4Friday vs. Wash., 6 p.m., ESPN2
WSU2-60-5Saturday at Utah, 12 p.m., Pac-12
Pac-12 Standings / South

SchoolsOverallConf.Next
USC6-24-2Saturday vs. Oregon, 4 p.m., FOX
UCLA6-23-2Saturday vs. Arizona, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12
ASU5-33-2Saturday at OSU, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Arizona5-32-3Saturday at UCLA, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12
Utah3-51-1Saturday vs. WSU, 12 p.m., Pac-12
Colorado1-71-4Saturday vs. Stanford, 11 a.m., FX
CALIFORNIA NOTES: The Bears have victories over Southern Utah (50-31) and UCLA (43-17) and losses to Nevada (31-24), Ohio State (35-28), USC (27-9) and Arizona State (27-17) . . .California ranks 7th in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (25.8 points per game), 9th in scoring defense (28.3), 7th in total offense (397.1), 9th in total defense (416.7), 5th in rushing offense (169.0), 7th in rushing defense (164.2), 7th in passing offense (228.1), 6th in pass defense (252.4) and 7th in pass efficiency (130.2) . . . Quarterback Zach Maynard is 5th in the conference passing yards per game (226.6) and 6th in passing efficiency (134.0) . . . WR Keenan Allen was declared out of the game with an injury. He is 3rd in the conference in receptions per game at 6.8, with six TDs. Allen also leads the Pac-12 in punt return average (14.1) . . . The Cal roster includes one player who is a Washington state native, DL Deandre Coleman, who grew up in Seattle and attended Garfield High School.

CALIFORNIA HEAD COACH: Jeff Tedford is in his 11th season as Cal's head coach.He led the Bears to a school-record seven consecutive bowl games from 2003-09, is 5-3 in bowl games and is the only Cal coach with more than two bowl wins. Prior to his arrival at Cal in 2002, Tedford worked as the offensive coordinator at Oregon (1998-01) and at Fresno State (1993-97). Tedford is a graduate of Fresno State.

COMING UP: The Huskies return to CenturyLink Field Nov. 2 to face Utah in their final home game of the season. UW has two more games after that, at Colorado Nov. 17 and at Washington State Nov. 23.University of Washington 2012 Schedule/Results

DateOpponentUW RnkOpp RnkW/LScoreRec.
9/1/12vs. SD State------W21-121-0
9/8/12at LSU---3L41-31-1
9/15/12vs. Port. State------W52-132-1
9/27/12vs. Stanford---18W17-133-1
10/6/12at Oregon232L52-213-2
10/13/12vs. USC---11L24-143-3
10/20/12at Arizona------L52-173-4
10/27/12vs. OSU---7W20-174-4
11/2/12at California---------------
11/10/12vs. Utah---------------
11/17/12at Colorado---------------
11/23/12at WSU---------------
2012 RECAPSUW 21, San Diego State 12 (Sept. 1): Keith Price completed 25 of 35 passes for 222 yards and an eight-yard TD to Kasen Williams, and Will Shamburger returned a fumble 44 yards to a touchdown as Washington defeated San Diego State in front of 53,742 at CenturyLink Field. The UW defense, maligned throughout the 2011 season, gave up 199 rushing yards but just 128 passing yards, recovered two fumbles, had three sacks and an interception.

LSU 41, Washington 3 (Sept. 8): No. 3 LSU sacked Keith Price four times, hit him an additional dozen times and romped easily to victory over Washington in the Huskies' first trip to the Southeastern Conference since 1983. LSU outgained Washington 437 yards to 170 and held Price to 157 passing yards with one interception.

UW 52, Portland State 13 (Sept. 15): Keith Price threw three touchdown passes in the first 23 minutes, Bishop Sankey ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns, Shaq Thompson blocked a field goal that Tre Watson returned 79 yards for a touchdown, and the Huskies massacred the Vikings at CenturyLink Field. It marked the Huskies' biggest win since a 53-3 win over Idaho in 2001.

UW 17, Stanford 13 (Sept. 27): Keith Price threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Kasen Williams late in the fourth quarter and Desmond Trufant made a game-sealing interception as Washington shocked No. 8 Stanford at CenturyLink Field. One year after UW lost to Stanford by 44 points and a week after the Cardinal defeated national title contender USC, Washington used a stifling defense to upset Stanford, holding the Cardinal to just 235 yards and no offensive touchdowns. Bishop Sankey ran for 144 yards for UW and scored on a 61-yard run on the last play of the third quarter, sparking Washington's stagnant offense.

Oregon 52, UW 21 (Oct. 6): Oregon freshman Marcus Mariota passed for four touchdowns and the No. 2 Ducks recorded their ninth consecutive victory over UW in Eugene. The 23-ranked Huskies aided the Oregon cause with a series of mistakes, including three personal fouls. Quarterback Keith Price completed 19 of 31 for 145 yards and two interceptions. Bishop Sankey scored on a pair of short runs and Eric Wilson added a TD with 32 seconds to play.

USC 24, UW 14 (Oct. 13): Anthony Brown blocked a punt and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown, Jawanza Starling forced a key fourth-quarter fumble, and No. 11 USC used big plays from its defense and special teams to overcome an inconsistent offense. The Huskies held Trojans (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) scoreless in the second half but got help from a defense that sacked Washington QB Keith Price five times and forced four turnovers to give USC its third straight win. The Huskies points were on a 17-yard TD pass from Price to Kasen Williams and a two-yard pass from Price to Austin-Seferian-Jenkins.

Arizona 52, UW 17 (Oct. 20): Matt Scott threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns, Ka'Deem Carey ran for 172 yards and Arizona raced out of its bye week with a rout. The Wildcats had their way with Washington's defense from the opening drive, eclipsing 500 total yards (533) for the sixth time this season. Washington (3-4, 1-3) had no chance against Arizona's fast-paced offense. Quarterback Keith Price had another so-so game in the Huskies' third straight loss. Price matched Scott with 256 yards passing, but his line didn't look quite as good, needing 52 attempts to get there, and with two interceptions to offset his one touchdown.

UW 20, Oregon State 17 (Oct. 27): The Huskies stemmed a season spiraling downward and ended No. 7 Oregon State's shot at the first 7-0 start in school history at CenturyLink Field. Bishop Sankey ran for 92 yards and two touchdowns, Travis Coons kicked a 30-yard field goal with 1:20 left and Washington took advantage of four interceptions from Oregon State's Sean Mannion. OSU became the second AP Top 10 team to be upset by the Huskies at home this season. Washington knocked off then-No. 8 Stanford 17-13 in late September. Keith Price, who committed 10 turnovers in the previous three games, started Washington's decisive drive hitting tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins for 20 yards, just his third catch of the night. On third-and-7, Kasen Williams made a juggling catch along the sideline for 19 yards and an additional 15 yards was tacked on for a personal foul against Oregon State to move the ball to the Beavers' 18 to set up Coons' game-winner.

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