FACTS & STATS: Site: Husky Stadium (72,500) -- Seattle, Washington. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Colorado 2-2, Washington 4-1. Away Record: Colorado 0-3, Washington 1-2. Neutral Record: Colorado 1-0, Washington 0-0. Conference Record: Colorado 0-5, Washington 2-3. Series Record: Washington leads, 7-5-1.
GAME NOTES: Following a bye week, the Washington Huskies attempt to reclaim the success they had earlier in the season as they host the Colorado Buffaloes in a Pac-12 Conference bout at Husky Stadium.
For Colorado this contest represents its sixth try to earn a win against a team from its conference. The first five attempts have been miserable failures as the Buffaloes have been topped by an average of 31 points per game. Their most recent 45-23 disappointment against No. 16 UCLA actually is the closest they have come to a conference victory.
A three-game losing streak has hampered a very promising start for the Huskies, who opened the campaign 4-0 and rose quite high in the national rankings. Washington was finally able to put an end to the streak of disappointment with a 41-17 triumph over California last time out. The now 5-3 Huskies were off last weekend, giving them an extra week to prepare for the first of their final two games at home. The Huskies are 4-1 on their own field and thanks to the win over California, are now fighting to reach .500 in league play (2-3).
A repeat of last year's meeting would go a long way for Washington. Keith Price threw five touchdown passes and Bishop Sankey piled up 139 yards on 23 carries to lead the Huskies to an easy 38-3 victory in Boulder. The win was the fourth straight for Washington in the all-time series, which it leads 7-5-1.
There hasn't been much to cheer about when it comes to Colorado's offense. The lone exception has been Paul Richardson. The Colorado receiver has been producing at a high level this year with 57 receptions for 984 yards and eight touchdowns. Richardson also has 31 receptions of at least 10 yards and 15 of at least 20. No other receiver has more than three plays of more than 20 yards, although Nelson Spruce (32 receptions, 352 yards, two TDs) has been a solid second option.
Despite Richardson's best efforts the Buffaloes are still the worst team in the Pac-12 in total offense (377.8 ypg) while sitting in 10th when it comes to points per game (26.4). Colorado is also tied with California for the fewest touchdowns (24) in the league.
Sefo Liufau has taken control of the starting quarterback job from Connor Wood during the last few weeks. Liufau has been a more efficient passer but still needs improvement. In all, he has thrown for 826 yards and four touchdowns, completing just under 65 percent of his pass attempts.
Christian Powell (376 yards, two TDs) and Michael Adkins (369 yards, five TDs) form a decent rushing tandem for the Buffaloes. Adkins is the more dynamic back as he is averaging 5.7 yards per rush, with 14 runs of more than 10 yards. Powell is more of a short-yardage option with an average of 3.6 yards per carry.
Even though they still allowed over 400 yards in the loss to UCLA, the Buffaloes did a decent job of slowing down one of the better offenses in the conference, letting up just 18 first downs. However, the Buffaloes have had very few games to feel good about on defense as they are letting up 467.5 yards of total offense. Addison Gillam (81 tackles) has been impressive as a freshman, leading the team in tackles, while tied for the lead in sacks (2.0).
In its rout of California, Washington looked much more like the team that was hanging up 600 yards of offense each game in the first few weeks of the season. The Huskies finished with 642 yards, but perhaps more importantly Sankey and Price looked much more comfortable.
Price didn't seem to be feeling any ill effects of a nagging thumb injury, as he completed 20-of-32 passes for 376 yards and two touchdowns. Price has enjoyed a very strong season this year, throwing for 2,169 yards and 16 touchdowns to just four interceptions, while completing better than 64 percent of his passes.
At one point this season Sankey was leading the country in rushing. He is still among the top three nationally but he had been hampered in a 53-24 loss to Arizona State, when he had just 22 yards on 13 carries. Sankey bounced back in a big way against California as he totaled 241 yards and two scores on 27 carries. Even though there are still games to be played Sankey has already turned in what would be considered a stellar campaign with 1,162 yards and 12 touchdowns on 199 attempts.
Four different receivers have at least 20 receptions for the Huskies, led by Jaydon Mickens (45 receptions, 542 yards, four TDs). Kevin Smith (30 receptions, 504 yards, three TDs) and Kasen Williams (29 receptions, 421 yards, TD) are also utilized, while tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (20 receptions, 244 yards, four TDs) has been a key target in the red zone.
The Huskies are a team in the bottom half of the Pac-12 when it comes to defensive production. Washington is ranked just seventh in yards allowed (392.3 ypg), while sixth in scoring defense (23.6 ppg). Princeton Fuimaono (59 tackles) and Shaq Thompson (53 tackles) are the leaders in stops, while Sean Parker (41 tackles, three INTs) and Marcus Peters (39 tackles, three INTs) make plays in the secondary. Hau'oli Kikaha (six sacks) anchors the pass rush.
With Price and Sankey getting back to normal the Huskies are an extremely dangerous squad once again. The threat they pose on offense is clearly a significant one especially against a Colorado team that hasn't had much to boast about defensively. Expect the Huskies to get a winning streak going with a convincing victory here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Washington 45, Colorado 14
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