Game 4: Arizona Wildcats (3-0, 0-0 Pac-12) at No. 16 Washington Huskies (3-0, 0-0 Pac-12)
Date/Time/Location: Saturday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. (PST) at Husky Stadium (70,138 capacity) in Seattle
Television: Fox (Gus Johnson, Charles Davis, Kristina Pink)
Radio: Arizona Radio Network, 1290 AM and 107.5 FM in Tucson (Brian Jeffries, Lamont Lovett, Dana Cooper)
Game Notes: Arizona, Washington
Odds: Washington (-9.5), O/U 61.5 (Odds Shark)
Meet the Coaches
Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez is in his second season with the Wildcats after stints at Salem (1988), Glenville State (1990-1996), West Virginia (2001-2007) and Michigan (2008-2010). Over the course of his 19 seasons as a head coach, the 50-year-old Rodriguez possesses a 131-89-2 career record. In his debut season with the Wildcats, Arizona went 8-5 including a dramatic win over Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl. It was Rodriguez’s first debut winning season and first bowl appearance in a debut season. He also tied Jim Young for most wins in a coach’s first season at Arizona. At the three schools he coached for more than one year, Rodriguez increased his win total from the first to the second season, averaging a 3.67 win increase from year one to year two.
Washington’s Steve Sarkisian enters his fifth season with Huskies after stints as an assistant coach at El Camino College (2000), USC (2001-2003, 2005-2008) and the Oakland Raiders (2004). Sarkisian, 39, has a 29-25 career record at Washington, which includes an active streak of three consecutive bowl appearances. A former El Camino College and BYU quarterback, Sarkisian coached quarterbacks from 2000-2006. He was USC’s offensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008 before moving to Seattle. He played parts of three seasons professionally in the CFL with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (1997-1999).
After wins against NAU, UNLV and UTSA, the undefeated Wildcats get their first true test on the road against Washington.
Through three games, the Wildcats rank fifth in the nation in rushing offense, averaging 322.3 yards per game. They are led by running back Ka’deem Carey, who has rushed for 299 yards and four touchdowns in two games. Over the course of his last six games, he has rushed for 1,213 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Quarterback B.J. Denker has also produced on the ground, rushing for 143 yards and five touchdowns in three games. He has 30-plus yard touchdown runs in every game this season.
While the running game has been effective, the passing game has struggled, as they rank 117th in the nation and last in the Pac-12 with 108.7 passing yards game.
On defense, the Wildcats rank in the top-20 in the country in total defense (313.3 yards, 19th), scoring defense (8.7 points, third) and turnover margin (+6, t-3rd). Opponents have only converted 32 percent of 3rd down conversions against Arizona.
The Wildcats are led on defense by safety Tra’mayne Bondurant, who has 19 tackles (three for loss), one sack, three interceptions, three pass break-ups and two defensive touchdowns in three games.
On special teams, kicker Jake Smith has made 4-of-6 field goals and all 17 of his PATs, while recording touchbacks on 14-of-24 kickoffs. Punter Drew Riggleman has pinned 5-of-9 punts inside the 20-yard line. The Wildcats rank 98th in the country in kickoff return average (19.0 yards) and 56th in punt return average (8.0 yards).
After opening the season with a blowout of Boise State, the Huskies followed it up with wins at Illinois and at home against Idaho State. They have outscored their opponents 128-30 in their three games.
The Washington offense currently ranks third in the NCAA in total offense (629.0 yards), ninth in rushing offense (303.7 yards) and 17th in passing offense (325.3 yards).
Quarterback Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey are both off to hot starts. Price has thrown for 879 yards and seven touchdowns, while Sankey has ran for 446 yards and four touchdowns. His 148.7 yards per game ranks second in the nation.
On defense, the Huskies rank eighth in scoring defense (10.0 points) and 12th in total defense (279.o yards).
Washington has recorded 11 sacks in three games, led by defensive linemen Hau’oli Kikaha and Josh Shirley, who have 3.0 sacks each. Safety Sean Parker has two interceptions.
On special teams, Travis Coons handles both field goal kicking and punting. He has made all three of his field goal attempts and all 17 of his PATs, while punting six times for a 42.3 yard average. Wide receiver John Ross has averaged 14.2 yards on nine total kick and punt returns.
Arizona Injury Report
Probable: Defensive lineman Dan Pettinato (knee), wide receiver David Richards (knee)
Questionable: Offensive lineman Fabbians Ebbele (ankle)
Out: Wide receiver Austin Hill (knee), offensive lineman Beau Boyster (knee, season-ending), linebacker Cody Ippolito (knee, season-ending)
Washington Injury Report
Probable: Linebacker John Timu (shoulder), running back Bishop Sankey (shoulder)
Questionable: Defensive lineman Connor Cree (undisclosed)
Out: Safety Taz Stevenson (shoulder, season-ending)
Arizona vs. Washington Series History
Washington leads the all-time series 18-10-1. The Huskies and Wildcats first played on Nov. 4, 1978 in Seattle with Washington winning 31-21. The home team has won the last five meetings, which includes Arizona’s 52-17 blowout win in Tucson last October. Quarterback Matt Scott accounted for 299 yards and five touchdowns in the win, while Ka’deem Carey ran for 172 yards and one touchdown.
Topics: 2013 Football Game Previews, Arizona Wildcats, Austin Hill, B.J. Denker, Beau Boyster, Bishop Sankey, Cody Ippolito, Connor Cree, Dan Pettinato, David Richards, Drew Riggleman, Fabbians Ebbele, Follow, Hau'oli Kikaha, Index, Jake Smith, Jim Young, John Ross, John Timu, Josh Shirley, Jourdon Grandon, Ka'deem Carey, Keith Price, Matt Scott, Rich Rodriguez, Sean Parker, Steve Sarkisian, Taz Stevenson, Tra'mayne Bondurant, Travis Coons, Washington Huskies