Washington (4-4) at California (3-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, Nov. 2, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (63,186) -- Berkeley, California. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Washington 4-1, California 2-3. Away Record: Washington 0-3, California 1-3. Neutral Record: Washington 0-0, California 0-0. Conference Record: Washington 2-3, California 2-4. Series Record: Washington leads, 48-39-4.
GAME NOTES: The roller-coaster ride that has been the Washington Huskies' season continues this Friday night at Memorial Stadium, when the Huskies battle the California Golden Bears in a Pac-12 matchup.
For the second time this season Washington downed a top-10 team last weekend with a 20-17 win at home against then No. 7 Oregon State. The Huskies, who also defeated a top-10 Stanford squad earlier this season, had taken down two teams with that high of a ranking twice in a single season four times previously, the last occurring in 2001. The Huskies are 4-1 at home this season but have been sorely outplayed on the road with blowout losses to LSU (41-3), Oregon (52-21) and Arizona (52-17).
California has had much more consistency in its season although that has come in losing efforts rather than winning ones. After a 49-27 loss on the road to Utah last weekend, the Golden Bears are just 3-6 overall this season and 2-4 in conference play. The team's conference record is better than only Washington State in the North Division.
Washington leads this series by a 48-39-4 margin. The Huskies have won three straight games in the series, including a 31-23 win at home last season. The loss continues the struggles California head coach Jeff Tedford has had against Washington. Tedford is 6-31 in his career against the Huskies.
After a stellar sophomore campaign, Keith Price has had his share of growing pains. Price threw for 33 touchdowns last season but has only eight this season to go along with nine interceptions. Price's numbers in passing yards (1,530) and completion percentage (60.1) are also far behind the strong numbers he posted last year when he threw for 3,063 yards and completed nearly 67 percent of his pass attempts. Price's struggles have really hurt a team that ranks third to last in the conference in both total yards (322.3 ypg) and scoring (20.6 ppg).
Price has relied heavily on passes to wide receiver Kasen Williams and his big tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Williams has hauled in team-highs in receptions (46), yards (503) and touchdowns (four), but is averaging only 62.8 yards per game. Seferian-Jenkins is just behind Williams at 59.8 yards per game. Overall he has caught 40 passes for 478 yards and three touchdowns. After those two, Bishop Sankey has been the third most productive receiver with 18 receptions for 106 yards.
Sankey though has made much more contributions in the running game. He has rushed for 666 yards and nice scores in taking over for Jesse Callier, who was lost early in the season with a torn ACL. Sankey has been a more than capable runner and one of the more consistent players on the offensive side of the ball.
Defensively speaking Washington has been near the middle of the pack in the Pac-12, allowing 386.4 yards and 28.0 points per game. The Huskies have been very poor in terms of getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks with a conference-low 11 sacks. Against Oregon State, the Huskies were a bit more opportunistic than usually recording four interceptions.
Marcus Peters has been the most dangerous player in terms of pass protection with a team-high in both interceptions (three) and passes defended (eight). Sean Parker, John Timu and Justin Glenn are tied for the team lead in total tackles with 45, while Shaq Thompson is right behind with 44 stops, including a team-high 4.5 tackles for loss.
If there has been one consistent part of California's offense this season it has been the play of wide receiver Keenan Allen. After catching five passes for 61 yards last week against Utah, Allen now owns the career record at California for receptions with 203. Allen has also caught a pass in 33 straight games, which is the longest streak in the Pac-12. Overall, Allen has caught 61 passes for 737 yards and six touchdowns. Chris Harper is the next most productive receiver with 29 receptions for 380 yards and a pair of scores.
Throwing those passes to Allen this season has been the wildly inconsistent Zach Maynard, who has completed a solid 61.8 percent of his passes for 2,039 yards and 12 scores, but has also been picked off nine times and has looked less than comfortable in the pocket on many occasions.
California has been a team that relies more heavily on the run this season. C.J. Anderson and Isi Sofele have each piled up some hefty rushing totals. Anderson has a team-high 513 yards and four touchdowns. Sofele has had the most carries on the team (109) and has racked up 477 yards. Brendan Bigelow has added a level of explosiveness to the running game with his ability to break off big runs. Bigelow has 343 yards this season on only 27 carries. Against Utah he had a 57-yard rushing touchdown, which gives him three scoring runs of at least 50 yards this season, the first time that has been accomplished by a California running back since Jahvid Best in 2009.
The Golden Bears give up slightly more points per game (28.3) than Washington and just over 30 more total yards a contest (416.7).
Five different players have reached at least 50 tackles this season for the Golden Bears. Josh Hill (63) and Nick Forbes (63) are the two leaders, with Steve Williams (56), Robert Mullins (50) and Michael Lowe (50) not far behind. Marc Anthony hasn't reached 50 tackles, but is tied with Chris McCain for the team lead in tackles for loss with 6.5. McCain is questionable for this game with an ankle injury. Three different players have snagged three interceptions with Williams, Lowe and Kameron Jackson all showing a nose for the ball.
Playing against the best teams in the conference has made for some impressive wins and devastating losses for the Huskies this season. California is not one of those premier teams but until Washington can prove that it can play well somewhere other than CenturyLink Field it's tough to assume a win on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: California 25, Washington 21
11/02 10:58:20 ET