UW Heads To Boulder For Final Road Game Of 2021
THE GAME: The Washington football team (4-6 overall, 3-4 Pac-12) plays its final road game of the 2021 season this Saturday as the Huskies travel to face former UW offensive coordinator Karl Dorrell and his Colorado team (3-7, 2-5) Saturday in Boulder. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. MT/12 noon PT and the game will air on Pac-12 Network. The Huskies enter the week needing two wins in their final two games to earn bowl eligibility. Following the trip to Colorado, the Huskies return to Seattle for the 113th edition of the Boeing Apple Cup vs. Washington State. That game is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. and will air on FS1.
QUICK HITTERS: Washington leads the Pac-12 in first downs allowed, passing yards allowed, pass efficiency defense, and scoring defense; and is second in total defense ... UW is the only FBS program that has scored in every red-zone opportunity this season ... the Huskies have scored 21 touchdowns and 10 field goals in 31 trips inside the opponent's 20-yard line this season ... UW is one of just seven teams that has allowed three or fewer scrimmage plays of 40 or more yards this season ... just two teams (Arizona State, 1; Colorado & Georgia, 2) have allowed fewer ... Washington is the only team that has yet to allow a pass play of 40 or more yards, and leads the nation in fewest 30-plus-yard pass plays allowed, with three ... Race Porter is currently No. 3 the Pac-12 (7th in NCAA-FBS) with his 47.7-yard punt average, which is 2.1 yards ahead of pace for the UW single-season school record (45.6) ... 44 members of the current UW roster have started at least one game for the Huskies ... 105 of the 123 players on the UW roster are freshmen or sophomores ... 77 are freshmen ... just five true (first-year) 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 85 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-Colorado game will air on Pac-12 Network, with Roxy Bernstein (play by play) and former UW All-American tackle Lincoln Kennedy (analyst) 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 99, XM channel 385, or 975 (app).
COACHING STAFF: For the second week, Bob Gregory will serve as UW's interim head coach. Gregory, who has been on the UW staff since 2014, was promoted to defensive coordinator ahead of the 2021 season. Running backs coach Keith Bhonapha is also in his eighth season on the UW staff, and added special teams coordinator to his title in 2021. UW alum Ikaika Malloe, who lettered as a Husky from 1993 to 1996 and once worked as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, is inr his sixth season, including his second as co-defensive coordinator. He joined the staff after the 2015 season, coming to Seattle from Utah State, and also moved from coaching the defensive line to outside linebackers. Fifth-year offensive line coach Scott Huff had spent the previous 11 seasons at Boise State, his alma mater. Former USC safety Will Harris, in his fourth year on the UW staff, was elevated to defensive backs coach in 2020. Back for a third season at the UW is wide receivers coach Junior Adams, who came to Seattle after two seasons as offensive coordinator at Western Kentucky. He took over as offensive coordinator prior to the Arizona State game. Two other second-year coaches are tight ends coach Derham Cato and assistant defensive backs coach Terrence Brown. Cato, a former coordinator at Davidson, spent the previous four years as an offensive analyst at UW. Brown is a Stanford alum who spent the 2018 and 2019 at Vanderbilt, and was a graduate assistant at Washington from 2015 through 2017. The newest full-time staff member is defensive line coach Rip Rowan, who had been a defensive quality control coach for the Huskies since 2019. On Nov. 7, offensive quality control analyst Payton McCollum was named quarterbacks coach; while defensive quality control analyst Aaron Schwanz was elevated to inside linebackers coach. Two of four UW graduate assistant coaches are returners to their position: Daniel Segal (offense) and Jon Rowe (offense). They're joined by new GAs Austin Taylor (offense) and Jaylen Johnson (defense), a former UW defensive lineman.
HUSKIES vs. BUFFALOES HISTORY: Washington and Colorado have squared off 18 times in their history and the Huskies hold the edge with 12 wins, six losses and one tie. Washington had won nine straight games vs. the Buffaloes, a streak that dated back 20 years, before losing the most recent meeting, in 2019. UW is 7-1 vs. Colorado since the Pac-10 Conference expanded to become the Pac-12, including six wins in the regular season and one in the 2016 Pac-12 Championship game.
The series began way back in 1915 when a Gil Dobie-coached UW team wrapped up a 7-0 season with a 46-0 win over the Buffs at Washington's Denny Field. Nearly 40 years later, the Huskies opened the 1953 season with a narrow 21-20 loss at Husky Stadium. Jim Owens' first game as Husky head coach, on Sept. 21, 1957, came against Colorado and that game ended in a 6-6 tie in Seattle. Two seasons later, the Huskies made their first trip to Boulder for yet another season-opener and beat the Buffaloes, 21-12.
The next meeting didn't come until 1976 in Seattle when Colorado beat Don James' second Husky squad, 21-7. The two teams next met in the 1985 Freedom Bowl in Anaheim. The Huskies won, 20-17, behind sophomore QB Chris Chandler.
In 1989, shortly after the untimely death of their former CU quarterback Sal Aunese, the Buffs handed the Huskies a 45-28 loss at Husky Stadium. Colorado rushed for 420 yards despite not having a single back over 100 yards. Colorado made it two wins in as many seasons the following year at Folsom Field, handing a 12th-ranked UW team a 20-14 loss. Eric Bieniemy ran for 143 yards and Darian Hagan scored a pair of TDs in the win. Colorado picked up a third straight win over the Huskies in the 1996 Holiday Bowl, winning 33-21.
In 1999, first-year UW head coach Rick Neuheisel, who'd left Colorado for Seattle during the offseason, got his first win at Washington in week three of the season. Marques Tuiasosopo hit Chris Juergens with a nine-yard TD pass with 3:17 remaining to break a tie and forge a 31-24 win. The following year in Boulder, a Rose Bowl-bound Husky team won, 17-14.
In 2011, in the two teams' first meeting as Pac-12 rivals, the Huskies won 52-24 in Seattle. Keith Price led the way for the UW, completing 21-of-28 passes for 257 yards and four touchdowns. In 2012, Price had another big game in a 38-3 win in Boulder, throwing for a school-record-tying five TDs. Price was 22-for-29 for 248 yards while Bishop Sankey rushed for 139 yards. In 2013 in Seattle, the Huskies won their fifth in a row in the series as the Dawgs rolled up 628 yards of total offense in a 59-7 victory. Price completed 22-of-29 for 312 and two scores while rushing for two more.
In 2014, erstwhile linebacker Shaq Thompson starred on offense for the Huskies, rushing for 174 yards on just 15 carries in 38-23 Husky win. Sefo Liufau passed for 314 yards and two TDs for Colorado. In 2016, the UW and Colorado met in the Pac-12 Championship game in Santa Clara, the first title game for both teams. Washington got 100-yard rushing performances from Myles Gaskin (159 yards) and Lavon Coleman (101) and two key interceptions from game MVP Taylor Rapp, one of which he returned 35 yards for a score on the first play of the second half, as Washington won, 41-10. Jake Browning threw TD passes to Darrell Daniels and John Ross while the UW defense held the Buffaloes to 163 yards and nine first downs.
In 2017 in Boulder, Myles Gaskin rushed for 202 yards and two TDs and the Huskies picked off three passes (Myles Bryant returned one 35 yards for a score) in a 37-10 win. In 2018 in Seattle, the UW held Colorado scoreless in the second, stretching a 14-13 halftime lead, to a 27-13 win. CU totaled just 86 yards of offense in the second half. In 2019 in Boulder, the Buffs stymied the UW offense for a 20-14 win to break the Huskies' win streak in the series. UW rushed for just 32 yards.
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 123 players on the current roster, 77 are listed as freshmen (56) or redshirt freshmen (21), 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 85 games in a row that the Huskies' opponent has failed to score more than 35. In that 85-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 85 games, the UW has scored more than 35 points on 31 occasions. No other team in the FBS has a current streak longer than 45 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 three plays longer than 40 yards in 10 games during the 2021 season. Only three FBS team have allowed fewer – Arizona State, 1; Georgia & Colorado, 2.