Next Up For Huskies Is Friday Night Battle At Arizona
THE GAME: The Washington football team (2-4 overall, 1-2 Pac-12) returns to the road for the first of two straight games away from Seattle, as the Huskies travel to Tucson for a Friday night game at Arizona (0-6, 0-3). Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. (PDT and MST) and the game will air on ESPN2 television. Washington has played three straight games that have been decided by similar, close scores to begin Pac-12 play, beating Cal in overtime by a touchdown before falling at Oregon State by three and to UCLA by seven. Arizona is looking to rebound from a 34-0 loss last Saturday at Colorado. Following this Friday's game, the Huskies return to the road the following Saturday, Oct. 30, at Stanford, before coming home to Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium to face Oregon on Nov. 6.
QUICK HITTERS: Along with LSU and TCU, Washington is one of just three teams in the FBS that has scored in every red-zone opportunity this season ... the Huskies have scored 11 touchdowns and five field goals in 16 trips inside the opponent's 20-yard line this season ... UW is one of just five teams that has allowed one or fewer scrimmage plays of 40 or more yards this season ... just one team (Arizona State) has allowed none ... Race Porter is currently No. 2 the Pac-12 (8th in NCAA-FBS) with his 47.6-yard punt average, which is two yards ahead of pace for the UW single-season school record (45.6) ... eight players made their first career UW start in the Montana game, and one more each did the same vs. Michigan, Arkansas State and Cal ... that means that 40 members of the current roster have started at least one game for the Huskies ... 108 of the 125 players on the UW roster are freshmen or sophomores ... 78 are freshmen ... five true freshmen have played this season for the Huskies: DLs Kuao Peihopa and Voi Tunuufi, QB Sam Huard, WR Jabez Tinae, and DB Davon Banks ... UW has gone 81 games in a row without allowing an opponent to score more than 35 points, easily the longest such streak in the nation.
TELEVISION: The Washington-Arizona game will air on ESPN2 television, with Clay Matvik (play by play), Rocky Boiman (analyst) and Tiffany Blackmon (sidelines) calling the action.
RADIO: All Washington football games will air on the Washington Sports Network from Learfield, with Tony Castricone (play by play), former Husky tight end Cameron Cleeland (analyst) and former UW basketball player Elise Woodward (sidelines) on the call. Radio coverage begins four hours before kickoff on the network's flagship station: Seattle's SportsRadio 950 KJR with "Husky Gameday" live from The Zone for Husky home games. Statewide coverage on the 15-station Washington Sports Network begins two hours before kickoff. The entire broadcast is available worldwide on the Huskies Gameday mobile app and on GoHuskies.com. The UW broadcast of the game will also air on Sirius channel 137 and XM channel 197. Additionally, the Jimmy Lake Show airs each Wednesday during the season, at 6:00 p.m. PT. This week's show will air on Tuesday night, due to the Friday game.
HUSKIES VS. WILDCATS HISTORY: Washington holds an 23-11-1 edge in the series against Arizona, with the Huskies taking 16 of the last 24.
Last year, Washington built a 37-0 lead and won, 44-27, in Seattle. In 2019, Washington posted its highest points total of the conference season in a 51-27 win over the Wildcats in Tucson. The Cats led, 17-13, at halftime, but the Huskies outscored them 14-0 in the third quarter and 24-10 in the fourth. Prior to that, the two teams hadn't met since the 2016 season, when the Huskies won, 35-28 in overtime, in both teams' Pac-12 opener. Tied at 28-28 at the end of regulation, the Huskies got a 4-yard TD pass from Jake Browning to Dante Pettis, and then batted down a fourth-down pass to end it. The year before, on a stormy Halloween night at Husky Stadium, the UW won, 49-3. Jake Browning was 16-for-24 for 274 yard and four scores while the UW defense forced four turnovers. In 2014 in Tucson, Arizona got a last-second, 47-yard field goal from Casey Skowron to beat the Dawgs, 27-26. A year prior in a late-September rainstorm at Husky Stadium, the Huskies pulled away from an 11-6 halftime advantage to win, 31-13. Bishop Sankey ran for 160 yards on a school-record 40 carries to lead the way for the Dawgs.
In 2013 in Tucson, the Wildcats rolled to a 52-17 win over the Huskies, with Ka'deem Carey rushing for 172 yards. In 2011, the UW beat Arizona, 42-31, as Chris Polk scored five TDs, rushed for 144 yards and caught four passes for 100 yards. In 2010 in Tucson, Wildcats backup QB Matt Scott led his team to a 44-14 win, completing 18-of-22 passes for 233 yards and two TDs. The year before in Seattle resulted in a stunning Husky win as linebacker Mason Foster intercepted a Nick Foles pass that deflected off the foot of an Arizona receiver and returned it 37 yards for a score with only 2:37 left. Washington won, 36-33, as the 'Cats' final drive was cut short by a Desmond Trufant interception.
In 2008 in Tucson, Arizona TE Rob Gronkowski tied a school record with three touchdown receptions as the Wildcats won, 49-19. In 2007 in Seattle, the Wildcats, behind quarterback Willie Tuitama, completed an impressive comeback and beat the UW 48-41 despite Jake Locker rushing for 157 yards and passing for 336. In 2006 in Tucson, the Huskies took a 21-3 lead in the second quarter and won, 21-10. In 2005, also in Tucson, Isaiah Stanback's dramatic, 69-yard bomb on the last play of the first half and 200 rushing yards from James Sims led the Huskies to a 38-14 win.
The six UW-Arizona games prior to 2005 were decided by a total of 31 points, with the most lopsided result (a 31-21 Arizona win) coming in 2004. That year, the Wildcats overcame a 13-9 halftime deficit, out-scoring the Huskies, 14-0, in the second half for the win. In 2003, Arizona snapped a string of 13 straight home losses in conference play by pulling out a late, 27-22 victory. In 2002, it was the Huskies who rallied late when Reggie Williams scored on an 80-yard reception with only 2:03 remaining in the game. In 2001, Cody Pickett ran in from three yards out with 13 seconds left to cap an amazing day. Only two weeks after separating his right (throwing) vs. USC, Pickett broke the UW record with 455 passing yards as the Huskies won, 31-28. Also included in the close contests are Washington's come-from-behind, 35-32 win in 2000 in Seattle (Marques Tuiasosopo scored with 1:10 left for the win a week after Curtis Williams was injured at Stanford), and the 1998 31-28 'Cats win, which may be the most memorable game in the series' history. Trailing 28-24 to Washington with under a minute to play, Arizona quarterback Ortege Jenkins flipped head over heels over three Husky defenders, landing on his feet in the end zone for the winning score.
EXPERIENCE AND YOUTH: Thanks in part to the extended eligibility that resulted from the pandemic, Washington's 2021 roster is remarkable for both its youth and its experience, all at once. Washington returns 10 starters on offense and eight on defense, along with returning "starters" at kicker (both FG/PAT and kickoff), punter, holder and long snapper. Those numbers are all higher than average. What's more, the roster includes 17 individuals who have started at least one game on offense, and 13 on defense. All totaled, those 29 players (one of them, Alex Cook, has started on offense and defense) have started 212 games (129 on offense, 83 on defense).
All that said, the UW roster includes just six players in their final year of available eligibility: P Race Porter, OLB Ryan Bowman, QB Patrick O'Brien, C Luke Wattenberg, and TBs Sean McGrew and Kamari Pleasant. Of the 126 players on the current roster, 78 are listed as freshmen (56) or redshirt freshmen (22), while 31 more are sophomores. That means that 109 of 126 players (86.5 percent) have three or more years of eligibility remaining, entering the 2021 season. The roster includes just 11 juniors, five seniors and one grad transfer.
OPPONENTS 35-AND-UNDER: Washington hasn't allowed an opponent to score more than 35 points in a game since a 44-30 loss at UCLA in 2014. That's a streak of 81 games in a row that the Huskies' opponent has failed to score more than 35. In that 81-game stretch, Husky foes have scored 30 or more just 13 times (of those 13, five were exactly 30 points) and have been held to 14 or fewer points 32 times. In that same span of 81 games, the UW has scored more than 35 points on 31 occasions. No other team in the FBS has a current streak longer than 40 games (San Diego State).
DEFENSE vs. BIG PLAYS: Last year (albeit in only four games), Washington's defense allowed just one play from scrimmage for more than 40 yards, tied for fewest in the nation. In 2019, the Huskies gave up just seven such plays of 40 or more yards, the eighth-lowest total (tied) in FBS. The median for 40-plus yard plays allowed in 2019 was 14. Also in 2019, the Huskies allowed just two plays over 50 yards, the third-lowest (tied) total (the median was seven). The year before, the Huskies gave up just ONE scrimmage play of 40 or more yards all season. No other FBS team allowed fewer than four and 102 teams allowed 10 or more that year. In 2017, the UW also led the nation with fewest 40-yard scrimmage plays allowed (3) and were second in fewest 30-yard plays (14). They were tied for 5th and 2nd, respectively, in 2016. Washington has allowed one player longer than 40 yards in six games during the 2021 season. Only one FBS team has allowed none.