Tucson, Ariz. • Arizona Stadium
November 8th, 2003 • 4:00 PM MST
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WASHINGTON AT A GLANCE
Coach: Keith Gilbertson (5-4, 1st year at Washington)
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.
WHEN WASHINGTON HAS THE BALL
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.
WHEN ARIZONA HAS THE BALL
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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