Washington (4-6) at Colorado (3-7)
Noon PT Saturday, Boulder, Colo.
TV: Pac-12 Network. Radio: SportsRadio 950 KJR.
Latest line: Huskies by 6.5.
UW key players
QB Dylan Morris: 60.1% completions, 2,071 passing yards, 12 passing touchdowns, 10 INT, 3 rush TD
RB Cameron Davis: 279 rushing yards, 3.8 yards per carry, 2 rush TD, 57 receiving yards
ILB Carson Bruener: 53 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 1.5 sacks, 1 interception
CB Trent McDuffie: 26 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3 pass breakups, 1 sack
Colorado key players
QB Brendon Lewis: 60.3% completions, 1,344 passing yards, 10 pass TD, 3 INT, 143 rush yards, 1 rush TD
RB Jarek Broussard: 618 rush yards, 4.75 YPC, 2 rush TD, 73 receiving yards
LB Quinn Perry: 64 tackles, 3 TFL
DB Christian Gonzalez: 43 tackles, 6 PBU, 5 TFL
Stuffing the run
Here we go again. UW surrendered 286 rushing yards, five yards per carry in last weekend’s 35-30 loss to Arizona State. To date, the Huskies rank 10th in the Pac-12 in opponent yards per carry (4.86) and 11th in rushing defense (204.8 yards allowed per game). UW is 1-5 this season when it allows more than 200 rushing yards. On the other side, the Colorado running game has struggled to get going, but 185-pound sophomore Jarek Broussard remains a formidable force. In UW’s loss at Colorado in 2019, the Buffs bullied the Huskies to the tune of 207 rushing yards and five yards per carry. If Carson Bruener, Jackson Sirmon, Tuli Letuligasenoa, Sam “Taki” Taimani and Co. can limit the Colorado running game, UW should put itself in position to earn a third consecutive road win in Pac-12 play.
Finding the finish
In their last two games, both losses, the Huskies have been outscored 44-20 in the second half. That could be construed as a strength and conditioning issue, as UW has gradually gotten worn down as games go on. It also could be attributed to an offense that has struggled to sustain drives, forcing its defense to stay on the field. Colorado certainly struggled in that department last weekend as well, being outscored by UCLA 34-0 in the second half after taking a 20-10 lead into the locker room. Regardless, the team that wins the fourth quarter will likely win the game, and that hasn’t been a strength of either side of late.
How much does this game actually matter? It might be difficult for the Huskies to get motivated for a noon road game between a 4-6 team and a 3-7 team. It doesn’t help, either, that their head coach — Jimmy Lake — was fired on Sunday and the two games that follow could be construed as somewhat of an afterthought. But though UW eventually fell to Arizona State last weekend, the Huskies did show admirable energy in their first game under interim head coach Bob Gregory. We’ll see which team wants to be there more on Saturday. Should Washington stay focused, it’ll be favored to win.
Someone has to win. It might as well be the Huskies. Against one of the Pac-12’s worst defenses, interim offensive coordinator Junior Adams will scheme easy completions from UW quarterback Dylan Morris (or maybe Sam Huard) to wide receivers Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan. UW running back Cameron Davis will hit a couple big plays, and the Husky defense will force a pair of crucial turnovers. Plus, a secondary that leads the nation in passing defense (135.8 yards allowed per game) and opponent yards per pass attempt (5.2) will continue to take away its opponent’s aerial attack. With a win at Colorado, the Huskies’ chances of qualifying for postseason play will hinge on their performance in the Apple Cup next week.
Final score: Huskies 24, Buffs 20