Position Breakdown: Who has the edge?

POSITION BY POSITION, heading into the Apple Cup, who has the edge between Washington State and Washington?

QB – Marshall Lobbestael has been steady and has looked rock solid between the 20's. The problem has been getting the ball into the end zone. Keith Price had an excellent start but injuries have taken their toll and while there's been a lot made this week of him returning healthy, he's not healthy. He's simply not the QB, throwing or running, that he was earlier in the season. The difference here ultimately comes down to two thing -- experience, and that UW's secondary has too many holes to stop up. Edge – Cougars

RB – No one gets as many yards after contact in the Pac-12 than Chris Polk. WSU has used a committee approach, with a shading towards Rickey Galvin in the latter half. The game could come down to if WSU can contain Polk consistently over the course of the game. Few have. Husky fans are wondering why Polk saw so few carries in the second half (8) of a loss to Oregon State. Wazzu has not found those 10-15 yard runs as often as they would like up to now. Edge – Huskies

TE – The Huskies' Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been a force in the second half of the season and comes in as the third leading receiver on the UW team. WSU picks and chooses their looks at the tight end in the receiving game, in part because their WR corps is deep and good. If this was about staying home and blocking, the Cougs might get a slight edge here but in terms of receiving at the TE spot, it's a different ballgame. If there was ever a game for the Cougar tight ends to put on a physical clinic, this is it. Edge – Huskies

WR – The Seattle Times before the season said the Husky wide receivers "should be a strength, and among the best in the Pac-12 in 2011." That hasn't come close to being the case. Their top receiver has 508 yards (Devin Aguilar) and the Huskies rank 55th in passing offense. The Cougs are ranked No. 1 in the Pac-12 in passing offense and ninth in the nation. The Cougs did lose Isiah Barton to injury, and it will be a tall task to fill his shoes. But Marquess Wilson is a star and the position is deep. Edge – Cougars

OL – Both teams have allowed too many sacks (WSU – 32, UW – 33) but the Cougs have attempted 450 passes, the UW 339 passes. The Husky o-line has had far more success on the ground but a good part of that has been the yards after contact of Polk. It shapes up as push until taking into account how the units have played the last few weeks -- WSU's pass protection and blocking has been improved, while UW's has slid. Edge – Cougars

DL – It's a virtual tie statistically in sacks and rushing yards allowed but UW's front four has two mammoth 330-plus pound tackles and that's allowed them to make more of the 1- and 2-yard stops on the ground. The problem for UW has been the pass rush. WSU meanwhile has started to get ever so slightly more heat on opposing quarterbacks from their front four. Edge – Even

LB – With Alex Hoffman-Ellis and Sekope Kaufusi, the Cougs have more speed and range. Cort Dennison is a solid player but he's disappeared in some games, as have the other UW linebackers. The biggest matchup problem, however, lies in if WSU will try to cover the Husky TE with a linebacker, a difficult task for even the fleetest of ‘backers. In the end, the Cougars have more speed and athleticism at this spot, though they need C.J. Mizell to get back to playing to his potential this week and for middle linebacker Mike Ledgerwood to play solid. Edge – Cougars

DB – WSU has had their problems at times in the secondary but nothing like the UW. The Husky secondary has been carved up the vast majority of the time and if WSU has time in the pocket, there could be some long pass plays crafted by the Cougar offense. Edge – Cougars

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