By Matt Heinz @MattHeinz_Rant on August 21, 2014
Steve Sarkisian left rainy Washington for sunny USC and it's hard to blame him. Don't expect Husky fans to miss him dearly, though, as they now get an upgrade at the coaching position by getting Chris Petersen. Petersen is also breaking in a young signal caller in Cyler Miles. Let's look at which five games are can't miss on the 2014 Husky schedule.
Two of the best coaches in the conference will face each other for the first time in the 2014 Apple Cup. Mike Leach has the Cougar fanbase teenage-girl-giddy after beating Washington in 2012 and making a bowl game last season. Washington did win last year’s game, 27-17, behind Bishop Sankey’s 200 yards rushing. With Sankey gone, both fanbases are counting on this game as a win looking ahead.
Washington came into Tempe last year with a national ranking of No. 20 and brought with them the nation’s leading rusher at the time in Sankey. The Sun Devils managed to hold Sankey to just 22 yards in ASU’s 53-24 shellacking of the Huskies. Taylor Kelly had four total touchdowns in that game and returns for his senior season in 2014. Look for the Huskies to pile the points on an incredibly inexperienced ASU defense.
The Huskies matched the Ducks blow for blow for 30 minutes last year, but the Ducks ran away in the fourth quarter. Running is something Oregon does very well as they do it fast and do it often, finishing 2013 ninth in the nation in rushing yards. The Ducks were ranked at No. 2 at the time of the game last year and enter the 2014 season at No. 3. Linebacker Shaq Thompson will need to be at his best if the Huskies want to pull off this upset.
UCLA won last year’s Friday night game, 41-31, behind two-way sensation Myles Jack’s four touchdowns. Jack reportedly won’t see nearly as many snaps on the offensive side of the ball, but he is one of the best linebackers in the nation. Unless you live in a pineapple under the sea, you have heard of UCLA QB Brett Hundley. Hundley gives defensive coordinators nightmares with both his legs and his powerful right arm.
While Oregon is the more talented team, the Huskies play Stanford at home and therefore this game will be much more intriguing than a likely loss to the Ducks. Stanford loses three studs in Trent Murphy, Shane Skov and Ed Reynolds from 2013’s 10th ranked scoring defense in the nation. A bigger blow might be losing defensive coordinator Derek Mason who is now the head coach at Vanderbilt.
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