OFFENSIVE BREAKDOWN: Beavs vs. Huskies

YOU WON'T FIND them in the AP or USAToday Top 25 polls but the Beavs have broken into the BCS Standings at No. 23. Saturday is Senior Day and the last home game of the season but the buzz around OSU-UW is that it's a trap game for the Beavers -- favored by 11 at home. Looking inside the matchups, here's where the Huskies look to be vulnerable on offense and where OSU might try to take advantage.

Remember way back when? The season was three weeks old and the Huskies shocked the college football world by taking down then-No. 3 USC. Things were definitely looking up for the 2-1 Huskies then -- the picture has changed considerably since.

The Huskies now sit at 3-6 (2-4 Pac-10), have dropped five of their last six and need to win out to reach bowl eligibility. Can they take that first step against the Beavs? Our comparison of the respective offenses would indicate the Huskies have a large hill to climb.

Quarterback: Back from a season ending injury in 2008, Jake Locker has played well and is second in the conference in passing yards (2,203).

Locker has been limited on the ground this year and served as your more conventional drop back passer for the '09 Huskies. Locker ran for 986 yards in his freshman year, setting a Pac-10 record and earning him Pac-10 freshman of the year. In 2009, however, he has only chalked up 230 hashes and four scores with his legs as of week nine.

Turnovers have been an issue, as reflected in his nine interceptions to 14 touchdown passes. Locker, although he has insisted he is healthy, has not looked 100 percent in his last two games and TV replays have shown him looking seemingly in considerable pain against both Arizona and UCLA.

Meanwhile, Sean Canfield is causing media whiplash with his play. Canfield continues to complete passes at nearly 70 percent and has thrown for over 300 yards in four of his last five games.

Canfield leads the league in passing yards (2,381) and has the Beavers putting up over 29 points per game. He's making quick decisions and his passes have been both accurate and put into tight windows.

Pick: Beavers. Canfield is simply on fire and in his final home game as a Beaver. You can bet he'll want to put on a show, and he has the confidence and tools to do so. About the only concern is him coming out of the locker room too jacked up.

Running Back: Jacquizz Rodgers was sought out and shut down by an active and physical defensive front from Cal. Quizz did manage to post 97 yards all told, (67) on the ground and (30) through the air, and he hit paydirt once.

But even when he's shut down the Texas Brick still manages to produce however is needed. And Quizz is 11 yards away from his second 1,000 yard season.

What has been a pleasant surprise for the purple is the play of tailback Chris Polk. Polk missed the final 10 games of the 2008 season because of injury and redshirted, and has since returned to bolster a fairly productive Husky ground game. Polk, just a redshirt frosh, has 773 yards and is on pace for a 1,000 yards season. He's strong and shifty at 5-11, 210 pounds and runs with a purpose.

OSU needs to run to the football and to not stop until he's down -- Polk ran for 132 last week against UCLA (8.8 ypc) and like he has all season, got many of those years after contact, although he was slowed in the second half.

Pick: Beavers. Polk is a work in progress and Jacquizz is, well, Jacquizz. After being limited last week Quizz will be ready to break loose against the second worst rush defense in the Pac-10 conference.

Offensive Line: Both lines have had their struggles this season in protecting their respective flingers. Washington has given up 21 sacks to OSU's 23.

Locker has been dumped nine times in his last three games and even with his elusiveness, has often fallen victim to strong a pass rush.

Protection has been better for the OSU line as of late. Canfield has been wrapped up only four times in the last three games, and only once in the last two.

The rushing stats are eerily similar, and the OSU o-line has not opened quite the same amount or breadth of holes as they did for Quizz last season. Washington is eighth in the conference with 122.8 yards per game on the ground, while OSU is two spots up churning out 131.8 hashes per contest.

Pick: Beavers. Even with the run game shut down last week, OSU gave up no sacks to two of the best pass rushers in the conference against Cal. Washington has struggled to protect Locker and if OSU can get pressure and contain on Locker, it could be a long night for the UW. The UW has not had a banner year in the secondary and Canfield, if he is given time, could put up more of the same crooked numbers.

Receivers: Just another ho-hum day at the office for the Pac-10's leader in receptions per game and receiving yards per game. James Rodgers didn't have his customary numbers last week but the guy simply hasn't been stopped all year. He has 301 total yards in his last three games and scored three times.

WR Damola Adeniji has emerged and is on pace to top 700 yards in his senior season -- and he continues to be a big threat downfield.

Entering the 2009 campaign, junior wide out D'Andre Goodwin was thought to be Washington's big play threat. His 220 yards and no scores have been dwarfed by true threats Jermaine Kearse, Devin Aguilar, and James Johnson. The trio accounts for over 1,400 yards and 10 scores -- roughly 64 percent of the passing game.

All three have big play abilities, but Kearse the most, with over 16 yards per reception and leads the group with four TD's.

Pick: Push While it's hard to go against Rodgers and Adeniji, the trio for Washington has been solid and the OSU secondary has been suspect at times. Granted, the Beavers tightened things up considerably last week and have improved since the start of the year, but they'll need to prove it this week before a trend can be truly established. If the UW receivers are allowed space, and Locker is allowed time, the Beaver secondary could be in for fits. Meanwhile, it will not be a surprise if Adeniji or Rodgers, or both, have big days.

Tight Ends: Just a few weeks ago, Joe Halahuni was anonymous to most Pac-10 watchers. No longer. His second 100-plus yard receiving game in three weeks saw to that.

The sophomore tight end took full advantage of what Cal was giving and torched the Bear defense for 128 yards on six receptions. Halahuni is the only true receiving threat from the group, (although Brady Camp has good hands) but is deadly after the catch.

He's suddenly become the third leading receiver with 410 yards on just 26 receptions -- that's 15.8 yards per catch.

While he may be a monster who stands 6-5 253, Washington tight end Kavario Middleton, a former 5-star recruit, is all but scary on the stat sheet. Middleton has been used sparingly in the receiving game and has only 181 yards on 21 catches. He does, however come into play in the red zone with his big frame. The Husky tight end has scored twice.

Pick: Beavers. Joe Halahuni has shown against USC and Cal he is the real deal. He catches the ball in traffic, has speed, finds the soft areas in the coverage, has soft hands and, with a head of steam, it's tough for two guys, and sometimes three, to bring him down.


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