Washington 101: No more tomorrows

THE DRAMATIC FASHION in which UW won at Cal overshadowed the sloppy way they played, but it gave the Huskies continued emotional momentum heading into the Apple Cup. And for as inept as they've look in defeat this season, this Husky team knows how to win the close ones.

Cougars (2-9) vs Huskies (5-6)
4:00 pm Pacific Time

Martin Stadium (35,117)

Versus Network

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Washington by 6

Washington won in Seattle last year 30-0.

Washington Leads 65-31-6.

Cougs 27, Dawgs 17


Players to Know
Jake Locker, QB: The once-unquestioned No. 1 pick has been sliding off draft charts of late. He is running the ball far less than in previous seasons, he's now playing with cracked ribs -- but he's still an athlete of rare ability and can make defenses pay if they ease up for a moment.
Chris Polk, RB: A steady haymaker for UW who is the best in the conference at yards after contact. The sophomore needs just 46 yards to crack 1000 ground yards for the second time.
Jermaine Kearse, WR: A deep threat who is capable of big yardage or multiple drops. He has turned numerous, poorly thrown long balls into big gains, with 56 catches for 823 yards and 10 scores on the season.

The running game is the heart and soul of UW's offense. It utilizes misdirection, zone and power blocking schemes, not to mention Locker's improvisational running ability. The deep ball comes regularly out of play action, set up by the running game or out of desperation from the lack of it.

Pre-snap formation tells a lot. The more aggressive the look, the more conservative the plan. Shotgun and 4-5 wide receiver sets mean either a short pass or a QB draw. Safeties will be important in the running game for WSU if they are to be effective. Power formations are usually just that, but will frequently release to play-action deep pass. As with OSU, don't let the running back decide the game. Keep the pressure on Locker to have to win with his arm.


Players to Know
Quinton Richardson and Desmond Trufant, CBs: It remains to be seen if UW's improved cornerback play is for real. Whomever is lined up against Marquees Wilson will be tested heavily.

Mason Foster, LB: The Huskies' leading tackler for the second time in three seasons, he plays primarily in the middle of the field despite his outside linebacker designation and will also on occasion come up on the edge and rush the passer.

The improvements by Nick Holt's defense the last two games, specifically against the pass, are suspicious. Both UCLA and Cal sported backup quarterbacks and feeble receiving corps. Prior to those games, UW had only six interceptions in nine games and was giving up an average of 221 passing yards and 2 passing TDs per game.

The UW defense has been Jekyll and Hyde. UW's front seven has looked good of late but no threat of the pass can make almost anyone look good. The secondary, however, remains a concern for UW coaches and is susceptible to errors. Attack the flanks but too many bubble screens or reverses aren't the way to hurt UW most, the big play is the answer there.

UW is decent but unremarkable in special teams. Kicker Erik Folk is usually money inside 40 yards but inaccurate beyond it. Punter Kiel Rasp was banged up at Cal but is probable. The Huskies have given up long returns at times.

-Despite the good looking box score, both teams looked awful in the UW-Cal game. Cal stopped themselves with penalties and miscues long enough to give the game away on what were basically UW's only two offensive impact plays all day -- a underthrown deep ball deflected into the hands of D'Andre Goodwin and an overthrown deep ball peeled from the turf by Kearse. But don't expect that team to come out today in Pullman, the Cougars will get the Huskies best shot. The Pac-10 desperately wants a fourth team to qualify for one its seven bowl slots and UW is its best shot. As for the Cougars, there are no more tomorrows and they're coming off their best game of the season, even if it feels like eons ago.

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