Following a drubbing at the hands of No. 12 Oregon, Arizona Football (3-3, 1-2) returns to action with another tough challenge against Washington (4-2, 1-2).
Fresh off of a big loss to No. 12 Oregon last Saturday evening, Arizona Football returns to action as they continue Pac-12 play.
Resuming action this Saturday for week seven of the 2022 season, the Wildcats should have yet another difficult challenge on their hands as they take on a talented team the Washington Huskies.
Coming in, the Huskies are reeling a bit. Despite starting the season 4-0 and ranked in the Top 25, Washington has lost its last two straight, including a 45-38 upset at the hands of Arizona State in Tempe.
While Arizona enters this week as a double-digit underdog for the second-straight week, nothing is ever guaranteed in college football, and perhaps the Wildcats can score the upset. However, it is going to take one hell of an effort in a place where wins are a rarity.
Getting to Know the details about Arizona Football’s opponent, the Washington Huskies.
Team: Washington Huskies
Conference: Pac-12 Conference
Current Record: 4–2 (1–2)
Head Coach: Kalen DeBoer enters his first season as head coach of the Washington Huskies after previously serving as head coach at Fresno State from 2020–21 where he posted a 12–6 (9–5) record in two seasons with a bowl appearance last year.
But before his time in Fresno, DeBoer was head coach at Sioux Falls where he went 67–3 (49–1) in five seasons. Kalen also won three, NAIA Championships in four appearances during his time there. Overall, he is 83–11 (59–8) as a head coach.
2021 Record: Finishing the 2021 season with a 4–8 (3–6) record, the Huskies ended their year with a 40–13 loss to conference rival Washington State. Current Arizona quarterback Jayden de Laura threw for 245 yards on 27 of 32 passing and ran for 31 yards on three carries in the Cougars’ dominant win.
Key Returners / Starters:
Fresh off of a disappointing, 4-8 finish in 2021, the Huskies have since replaced former head coach Jimmy Lake, brought in DeBoer, former Indiana quarterback Michael Penix, Jr., and offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb. Their additions have done wonders in turning around this group.
Running a mixed offense that incorporates a bit of Veer Option, Air Raid, and Run ‘N Shoot, overall, it is a hard offense to scheme against, and on offense, the Huskies are very talented as they are currently averaging 498.5 yards per game and 41.0 points per game.
Led by fifth-year quarterback Penix, Jr., the former Indiana quarterback is on a roll, passing for 2,044 passing yards and 16 touchdowns to just four interceptions on 158 of 244 attempts.
Spreading the field, Penix, Jr. likes to get the ball in the hands of his offensive weapons which include running back Wayne Taulapapa and receivers Giles Jackson, Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan, and Ja’lynn Polk.
Behind Penix, Jr. is Taulapapa and Cameron Davis. Together, the two form a formidable backfield, and if the Huskies don’t beat Arizona over the top, look for them to get Taulapapa and Davis going.
Like Oregon, Washington also runs more of a 4-2-5 nickel defense, and similar to a 4-3 defense, this is a defense designed to stop and slow-down spread offenses with a read-and-react approach.
Overall, this is an okay defense, that isn’t overly great. Holding opponents to 350.7 yards per game, the Huskies are also allowing 27.8.
Largely led by its playmakers, the Huskies get significant contributions from defensive back Alex Cook, former Pitt linebacker Cam Bright, as well as linebackers Alphonzo Tuputala, Bralen Trice, and Jeremiah Martin.
Along the defensive line, the Huskies have size and talent, and overall, they are an aggressive group that is holding opponents to just 116.0 yards rushing per game.
However, the secondary is where Washington may struggle the most. Surrendering 234.7 yards passing and an average of 2.2 touchdowns per game, the Huskies are also allowing opposing teams to complete 63.3 percent of their passes.
Led by defensive backs Cook, Dominique Hampton, Davon Banks, and Asa Turner this is a group that could be tested by Arizona’s talented receiving corps; however, a lot will be contingent on whether Arizona’s line can negate Washington’s defensive pressure, as well as if Jayden de Laura can settle into the offense and deliver.
For Arizona to be successful, they have to find a rhythm, move the ball, and stick to its strengths, otherwise, the Wildcats could be in store for a long game.
Game information and details for Arizona Football:
When: Saturday, October 15th, 2022
Time: 2:30 PM MST
Watch: Pac-12 Network
Where: Husky Stadium – Seattle, WA (70,083)
Overall Series Record: 24-11 Washington. Having met several times in their collective history, this is a series that Washington has controlled pretty handily, especially as of recent as the Huskies have won the last five straight meetings, including eight of the last 11. Arizona’s last win against the Huskies came in 2014 when the Wildcats narrowly beat Washington 27-26 at home.
Last Meeting vs. Arizona: Last year in Tucson, the Wildcats battled, and they even led the Huskies 16-7 heading into the fourth quarter. However, Arizona could not hold on as Washington scored 14 unanswered points to come away with the 21-16 win.
My Prediction: Washington 41 Arizona 24 – Even though the Huskies have lost two straight, the Wildcats have not fared well in Seattle, with their last win coming in 2007. Unfortunately, given Arizona’s defensive struggles, I don’t see this one going the Cats’ way.
Washington’s struggles in the secondary allow for the Cats to score some points here, but ultimately, Penix Jr. and the high-flying Husky offense are too good as Washington comes away with a big win here.