The Washington Huskies (6-4, 4-3) will travel down to Corvallis, Oregon this Saturday to take on Oregon State (2-8, 2-5) in hopes of snapping their two game losing streak. Washington will be without starting quarterback Keith Price who is resting a sore knee with the idea he’ll be fully healthy for the Apple Cup next Saturday.
Redshirt freshman Nick Montana will start for Washington in replace of Price which will mark his first career start. Montana has played in four games this season most notably against USC where he took over for Price when he went down with his knee injury. He finished the game 9 of 15 for 73 yards and one touchdown to Kasen Williams.
However Montana is likely to play as more of a game manager against Oregon State due to their lack of ability to stop the run. With Chris Polk already past the 1,000 yard mark for the third consecutive season the game plan for Washington will be to pound away at the Beavers weak run defense.
Polk has been slowed up the past two weeks failing to reach 100 yards in back to back game for the first time since October 30th to November 6th against Stanford and Oregon respectively. Last year Polk ran for 105 yards on 28 carries in Washington’s 35-28 double overtime win against Oregon State.
The only problem Washington could have is on the offensive line. Even against Oregon State’s weak front four if Washington can’t control the line of scrimmage and open some holes for Polk Montana could have to play a bigger role.
Defensively Washington has to contain freshman quarterback Sean Mannion and force Oregon State to play one dimensional. Mannion is a very erratic and inconsistent which can play to Washington’s benefit, or hurt them severely. Huskies defensive coordinator Nick Holt will have to make sure Mannion and the Beavers offense doesn’t get going early.
If Washington’s defense can get control early and knock Mannion out of rhythm it will be a lot easier for Montana and the Husky offense to light up the score board.
The key for Washington on the road will be to get a quick start offensively which will allow Holt to run his defense more effectively. Against Colorado Washington jumped on top early and never looked back. Sarkisian needs to open up the playbook early and if he can get the offense firing early it should be smooth sailing.
The one thing that Washington can’t afford is to underestimate Oregon State just because of their record. At 2-8 it’s easily to think it would be a gimme but Mike Riley won’t go down easy so expect Sarkisian to have that message clear into the helmets of every single Washington play before the game.
Prediction: Washington 38, Oregon State 17
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