Washington Huskies: Allan Bridgford
November, 8, 2012
By Kevin Gemmell | ESPN.com
A few storylines to keep an eye on in Week 11.
- Backups-to-starters: Oregon State quarterback Cody Vaz and Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan both started the season on the bench. Now they square off as starters in one of the most pivotal games in the North Division this season. Whichever team wins in Palo Alto, Calif., on Saturday emerges as the prime contender to challenge Oregon for the division crown and a spot in the conference title game. But the stakes are higher still. Because there's a good chance that if either loses to Oregon, but is able to win its other remaining games, that team could still make the Rose Bowl if Oregon goes to the national championship game. Much on the line with not a ton of experience at the QB position.
- Backups-to-starters, Take II: While Vaz and Hogan are now starting quarterbacks because of performance reasons, Allan Bridgford and B.J. Denker probably will get the nod in lieu of injured starters Zach Maynard and Matt Scott at California and Arizona, respectively. Maynard suffered a knee injury in the loss to Washington. An MRI showed no ligament damage, but he hasn't practiced much. Scott continues to be evaluated after suffering a concussion in the loss to UCLA and Denker has been taking the bulk of the snaps in practice this week.
- Bowl-bound? Washington, Arizona State and Arizona all could become bowl-eligible this week with victories. The Sun Devils have the toughest chore of the trio, going on the road to face a disgruntled USC team that gave up 62 points to Oregon last week. Arizona -- despite the questionable health of quarterback Scott -- has the easier task with Colorado coming to the desert. Washington has been tough at home, but hosts a surging Utah squad also looking to get back into the postseason.
- Slump-buster: Speaking of that Arizona State-USC game, both teams come into the game with losing streaks. The Sun Devils have dropped three straight and USC has dropped two in a row. The Trojans have not lost three in a row since 2001. Someone is going to put the skids on their losing streak.
- Something's Bruin: UCLA took a huge step toward winning the South -- no asterisks this year, thank you very much -- with its blowout win over Arizona last week. That sets up a monumental showdown next week with crosstown rival USC -- a team that's had its way with the Bruins every year since 2006. While an upset isn't expected in Pullman, Wash. -- especially given the issues the Cougars have experienced this year -- the Bruins are still a young team and can't be caught looking too far ahead. It's a good thing to control your destiny, but it also can weigh heavily on a team with a lot of freshmen playing on offense.[+] EnlargeRuss Isabella/US PresswireUtah may need more kick-return magic from Reggie Dunn to get a win at Washington.
- Barner watch: After rolling up 321 yards and five touchdowns last week against USC, Oregon running back Kenjon Barner has played his way into the Heisman conversation. However, the Ducks needed all four quarters to pull away from the Trojans last week and Barner carried 38 times. You have to wonder if the Ducks go back to their standard operating procedure of sitting the starters in the second half should they build a big lead on the Bears.
- Three week in a row? Can Utah kick returner Reggie Dunn do it again? He has returned three kickoffs 100 yards for touchdowns in the past two weeks -- an NCAA record. And he has four such returns for his career, also an NCAA record.
- Tough at home: The Utes will need all the points they can get. Washington is 4-1 at CenturyLink Field and the Huskies' defense is allowing only 13 points per game in their home away from home. (Stanford had a defensive touchdown and USC had a special-teams touchdown -- total points are 15.8).
November, 3, 2012
By Kevin Gemmell | ESPN.com
There’s ugly. And there’s whatever that was Friday night in Berkeley, Calif.
But when all the turnovers had been recovered and all the yellow laundry had been cleared from the field (on one play, there were four separate penalties), the Washington Huskies emerged with a 21-13 victory over California. It was Washington’s first road win of the season and snapped a six-game road losing streak for the Huskies. The win moves Washington (5-4, 3-3 Pac-12) one step closer to bowl eligibility.
Cal (3-7, 2-5) is officially eliminated from postseason contention for the second time in three seasons -- and questions surrounding the future of coach Jeff Tedford are sure to heat up with this latest loss.
The teams combined for eight turnovers (four apiece) and 19 penalties for a total of 168 yards (12 for 108 from Washington).
But amid the sloppiness, there were bright spots. Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins -- playing on a bum ankle -- turned in a gritty performance with eight catches for 151 yards and a score. Bishop Sankey had a season-high 189 yards on the ground for Washington to go with a pair of scores.
However, it's hard to overlook a stretch in the fourth quarter in which four consecutive drives ended in turnovers -- including four turnovers over a span of 11 snaps.
The Huskies jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when they turned an Isi Sofele fumble into an 11-play, 79-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard Sankey touchdown run.
The Bears battled back to match the score in the second quarter when Chris Harper scored on a 14-yard end-around. Cal then took a six-point lead in the third following a pair of Vincenzo D’Amato field goals.
But Seferian-Jenkins -- who came out of the locker room at halftime limping badly -- made his presence known late in the third quarter. He made a leaping 43-yard reception that later helped set up his jumping 29-yard touchdown from Keith Price that gave Washington a 14-13 edge at the end of the third quarter.
Price completed 16 of 29 passes for 237 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His Cal counterpart, Zach Maynard, was 15-of-29 for 175 yards with no touchdowns and a pick. C.J. Anderson led Cal on the ground with 160 yards on 22 carries.
The loss also puts a damper on an outstanding game from Cal linebacker Nick Forbes, who tallied 10 tackles with an interception and two fumble recoveries.
It was a Maynard interception in the fourth that set up Sankey’s second touchdown run of the game and gave Washington the final margin.
Making matters worse for Cal, Maynard was sidelined near the end of the game with what appeared to be a knee injury. He was helped off the field and then carted to the locker room. Allan Bridgford relieved Maynard on Cal’s final drive but was unable to get the Bears into the end zone.