Four burning questions: Washington
Posted November 12, 2011 at 1:37 am in Blogs, Tailback U
How will Chris Polk fare against the USC defense?
By any standard, Washington running back Chris Polk is having a phenomenal season. The former USC commit has run for over 100 yards in seven of the Huskies’ nine game this year, and he currently owns the school record for most career games with at least 100 yards rushing (18). Polk faces a stiff challenge Saturday against USC. The Trojans rank 15th in run defense, allowing just over 105 yards per game. Although USC has plugged the middle well this season, they must be sure to wrap up the physical running back to prevent a plethora of yards after the catch.
Can the Huskies slow down Matt Barkley?
Although Washington is off to a fast start, the defense under former USC coordinator Nick Holt has struggled. The Huskies rank 102nd in points allowed and 93rd in pass defense, allowing 259.4 yards per game. Meanwhile, Matt Barkley is coming off of another noteworthy performance after torching the Colorado defense. The junior signal caller set a school record by throwing six touchdown passes last Friday. Lane Kiffin has placed a large emphasis on the passing game the last few weeks, and Robert Woods â the national leader in receptions â and freshman Marqise Lee should be able to get open against the Washington secondary.
Will the large number of Southern California players on Washington’s roster charge the Huskies’ emotions?
Steve Sarkisian spent several years at USC, so it is not a complete shock that the Huskies’ head coach has recruited in southern California. Washington has 35 players on its roster from the area. Chief among them is sophomore quarterback Keith Price. He has filled the shoes of the departed Jake Locker well, and the Huskies are off to one of their best starts in a while. In fact, Price currently holds a higher efficiency rating than Matt Barkley. Price has completed 66.8% of his passes and thrown 25 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. However, the Compton native has not performed particularly well against ranked opponents. In three contests with ranked foes, he has thrown six of his ten interceptions.
Will the USC offensive line pave the way for a big running day?
Curtis McNeal has emerged over the past few weeks as a speedy running back that hits the holes well. The Trojans only rank 59th (156.8 yards per game) in rush offense, but the opportunity to run wild might present itself Saturday. In three games against ranked opponents, Washington has allowed an average of 322 rushing yards per game. If the offensive line can win the battle in the trenches, the USC offense will be able to run the ball as well as they did in the second half against Stanford.
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