Friday, October 5, 2012
Who will transform tomorrow?
By Kevin Gemmell
If ever there was a chance for Washington quarterback Keith Price to tally a "signature win," this would be it.
Consider what he's up against as this No. 23 Washington Huskies make the trek to face No. 2 Oregon. He's battling the ghosts of eight years past and a recent history of offensive inefficiency against the Ducks. During Washington's eight-game losing streak in the series, the Huskies have only crossed the 20-point threshold twice -- when they scored 34 in 2007 (but gave up 55) and 21 in 2005 (but gave up 45).
No doubt, it will take a team effort for the Huskies to knock off their second top-10 foe in two weeks. And the spotlight is just as much on the defense as it is Price and the offense. Since 2009, the Ducks lead the nation in one-minute touchdown drives (63) and offensive touchdowns of 20-plus yards (88).*
But it will also take a stellar performance from the Washington quarterback.
And if the Huskies can get him into the red zone, that could be a difference-maker. Price ranks first among active quarterbacks in completion percentage (73.9), yards per attempt (6.8) and touchdown percentage (42 percent) in the red zone since the start of last season. This year he's 11-of-15 with four touchdowns and zero interceptions inside the 20.*
So if the Huskies are hoping to avoid their ninth consecutive loss to the Ducks, getting Price into position where he can make plays will be paramount.
Price ranks 11th in the conference this year in pass efficiency, completing 59 percent of his throws with five touchdowns and two interceptions. Not stellar numbers, but he's also faced some pretty good defenses. That isn't going to change on Saturday. The Ducks will present as difficult of a front as Stanford did.
Price has been fantastic inside of the 20. Now it's time for him to lead the Huskies the other 80 yards.
*ESPN Stats and Information