Week 6 Game Matchup: Arizona Wildcats VS. Washington Huskies
Arizona Wildcats (3-1) vs. Washington Huskies (2-3)
Saturday, October 10, 7:00 PM PST
Las Vegas Favorite: Arizona -3.0
Sam’s Take (25 – 12):
After a very disappointing (and controversial) loss in South Bend, Washington must refocus for a critical conference game against Arizona. This game is huge for both the Huskies and ‘Cats, but especially for U-Dub. For all the great things that Sark’s Dawgs have done so far this season, they cannot afford to move to 2-4 (1-2 in Pac-10) or else the road to the postseason becomes much tougher.
Arizona on the other hand, is well rested and feeling good after their big win in Corvallis against Oregon State two weeks ago. The offense now belongs to QB Nick Foles, and if his first start is any indication of what is to come, the Pac-10 better watch out for the Wildcats. RB Nic Grigsby comes back this week too, so Sonny Dykes will have all of his playmakers available (except for Gronk of course).
While UA certainly has all the ingredients necessary to win this game, I believe UW plays at another level inside Husky Stadium (especially on defense). I expect QB Jake Locker to take control of this game, while also getting help from RB Chris Polk. The UA secondary is as gifted as any in the conference, but I still think the Washington receivers will come up with some big plays.
I look for Sark’s Huskies to put the Notre Dame debacle behind them by claiming an important Pac-10 win over a very good Arizona team.
Prediction: Washington 30 – Arizona 27
Arizona Player to Keep an Eye On: DE Brooks Reed - Reed will be coming after Locker all night, and this could be his breakout game after a slow start so far in ’09.
Washington Player to Keep an Eye On: CB Desmond Trufant - Trufant showcased his promising ability against Notre Dame, and he could be a key to stopping Foles and Co. this week.
Dave’s Take (29 – 8):
Five weeks into the season, and we still really don’t know a whole lot about where these two teams stand in the conference. For both of them, a win here would certainly help matters.
With the USC upset came something the Huskies haven’t had in a while; expectations. They haven’t been able to meet those expectations in the two games since, getting crushed by Stanford and losing in heartbreaking fashion last week in Notre Dame. Now back at home, the Huskies have the opportunity to prove that the Trojans game was a sign of good things to come, not a fluke.
Washington’s offense is clicking, no doubt about it. Jake Locker is finding his receivers and using his feet when he can’t; and freshman sensation Chris Polk is keeping defenses honest with his outstanding play in the running game. The defense, however, comes into Saturday’s game a huge question mark.
For Arizona, it’s a chance to not only improve to 4-1 and a perfect 2-0 in the conference, but to do so with a pair of tough road wins. The Wildcats get three straight games at home after this one, and they’d love to head into that stretch undefeated in the conference.
With Nic Grigsby’s return, Nick Foles’ job should be even easier this week. Foles is no Jimmy Clausen, but he is an excellent pocket passer who should be able to exploit the weaknesses in the Washington secondary.
Washington’s defense plays better at home, but I still think Arizona has the edge. They’ve had an extra week to prepare for Washington on both sides of the ball, and if Nick Foles brings his A-game like he did against Oregon State, Arizona comes out on top. That’s no guarantee though; this will only be Foles’ second start, and against an explosive team like the Huskies, the margin for error is extremely slim. But I think he’s up to the task.
Prediction: Arizona 38 – Washington 27