Scouting Report: Washington

Arizona has lost two heartbreakers in a row to the Huskies. They had a lead in the fourth quarter each of the last two games, only to have a big play keep them from the win column. Two years ago it was a questionable call and a great run by Cody Pickett, while last year it was the 80-yard touchdown by Reggie Williams. The Cats want revenge and they want to snap the home conference losing streak.

Washington Huskies (5-4, 3-2) at Arizona Wildcats (1-8, 0-5)
Tucson, Ariz. • Arizona Stadium
November 8th, 2003 • 4:00 PM MST
Radio: KNST (Brian Jefferies, Les Josephson)
Television: Fox Sports Net Arizona Tape Delay (Dave Sitton, Larry Smith)

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Coach: Keith Gilbertson (5-4, 1st year at Washington)
Offense: Multiple
Defense: 3-4
2002 Record: 7-6; Pac-10 3-5, 8th (Lost to Purdue in Sun Bowl)
Site: Seattle, WA
Series Record: Washington won 14-4-1
Last Meeting: The Huskies beat Arizona late 32-28.

The Wildcats were crushed 52-23 at Oregon State. Washington beat up on Oregon 42-10.

The big question all week was who would throw the ball for the Huskies. That's been answered and the Cats will get the main man.

"He's doing great, there's no symptoms," Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson said Thursday afternoon when asked about Cody Pickett. "He's definitely starting."

Pickett had missed practice time and his status was not decided until Gilbertson's announcement. Pickett may not be having the season he was hoping for, but he's still one of the best passers in the Pac-10.

If anything happens to Pickett, the reliable Casey Paus is ready to go. Paus filled in admirably last week after Pickett was lost to a concussion.

The rushing game has been a problem all season and things got worse when leading rusher Rich Alexis was lost for the season. Alexis had only rushed for 566 yards this season and his back up, Kenny James, has been just as effective.

The strength of the huskies has been their receiving corps. Reggie Williams is one of the nation's top receivers and Wildcat fans will remember the game-winning touchdown against the Cats last season. Williams is a tall, speedy receiver who provides a tough match-up for Arizona's smaller receivers. Lining up on the other side of Williams is Charles Frederick who is a great receiver in his own right.

If Arizona is to have any success they must shut down the running game and hope that Pickett makes mistakes. They need Washington to be sloppy, because when they are on they can rack up the points.

The Wildcats' offense is one of the worst in the nation. Despite putting up 23 points last week against Oregon State, the Wildcats rank 110th in the nation. The Cats start a true freshman at QB behind a patchwork offensive line. Not a good combination.

Kris Heavner will get the start, but sophomore Nic Costa will get at least two series and probably more. Both are strong armed, durable quarterbacks. Heavner is a more traditional drop-back passer with some mobility, while Costa is an undersized scrambler with sprinter's speed.

Clarence Farmer is gone, but Mike Bell has been great as of late. The sophomore has put together two consecutive 100-yard games in a row and has been running with authority. Bell is not the power runner that Farmer was, but Bell has great speed and is hard to catch in the open field.

The receiving corps is led by Biren Ealy and Ricky Williams. The Cats have also been using their tight ends a lot more in recent weeks and Steve Fleming is developing into a reliable pass catcher for the Cats.

OUTLOOK: Which Husky team will show up? The one that lost to Nevada or the one that crushed Oregon? If it is the latter, then the Wildcats have no shot. However, if it is the former, then the Cats could make this the third consecutive close game in the series. The Wildcats desperately want a home Pac-10 win, but it could be tough.

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