Derek Johnson, Columnist. Record: 5-3: There are no more tomorrows... This is THE GAME that determines the true worth of the players, coaches and fans. We will see if the players truly want this season to mean something. We will see if the coaches can present to us a team that actually looks organized on game day. We will see if the fans' interest level has dropped proportionately with the Huskies' place in the league standings. The time for the "Husky Nation" to rise up is now! The players need to leave their guts out on the field. The coaches need to devise a crisp, innovative attack. The fans need to heap their frustration and wrath upon a UCLA team that abused the Dawgs a year ago. For motivation, one need only hearken back to the image of the vicious late hit upon Taylor Barton, and the taunting that ensued soon after. If the Huskies lose this game, I won't be picking them to win again the rest of the year.
Washington 24, UCLA 20
Andy Poehlman, Columnist. Record: 4-3: Well, having seen nothing that indicates that the Huskies are getting better, I suppose I should pick them to lose again. I always get a feeling like, 'hey, they're gonna win, come on... it's the Dawgs', and then I remember... 'oh, it's the 2002 Dawgs'. If there's a game the Dawgs can win left on the schedule, it should be this one: at home, true freshman quarterback, all that. But just remember, these are the 2002 Dawgs. The 1982 or 1992 Dawgs would have struck fear into the hearts of any true frosh QB, but the 2002 Dawgs are a sight for sore arms. It doesn't really matter who the opponent is, though. If the Dawgs can't run and get manhandled up front, they will have problems. The crowd will be under-whelming in response to under-whelming defense at critical times. No true freshman QB in the last two decades has had it as easy on third-and-twelve in Husky Stadium. Whoever starts for UCLA should get a win.
UCLA 26, UW 20
Joe Kaiser, Columnist: Record: 6-2: Call me crazy, but I think the Dawgs win this one. They return home to face a UCLA team without its starting quarterback. If there is strength that the Huskies have shown this season other than passing the ball, it's stopping the run on defense. Against UCLA, that will be the mission, stopping freshman tailback Tyler Ebell. I think the Huskies will manage to handle the run well enough to earn a victory in front of the Husky Stadium crowd. Look for the Husky defense to pick up a touchdown to help the cause.
UW 27 - UCLA 17
Rick Samek, Columnist. Record: 5-3: Hey, except for the two games, the nine days off in the Southland were a blast!!
OK, Washington's a broken team. Sitting in the Tempe stands, you could tell from the second series that they didn't want it. ASU punched 'em and the Huskies . . . well, didn't. At least the fans around us were nice enough about it. There was one inebriated fan exiting that exclaimed rather loudly "Washington sucks". And on that night, I couldn't have agreed more.
Could it happen again? At home, on Homecoming? Suppose it could. But I just don't see UCLA coming in with a freshman QB and the Husky defense letting Tyler Ebell beat them like Stanford's did. Hundley's call should be simple here ... stack the front and make Moore or Olson beat them. Blitz like crazed Dawgs, as L.T. used to put it, and have the safeties fill. On the other hand, Phil Snow saw what ASU did to negate the Husky offense. He's got some active LBs and a good rush end in Dave Ball to do similar things. Reggie won't be able to slant on the roll-up zone, so the deep ball comes into play if Reggie is to make a mark. If Jarrad Page rolls up on Reggie, flood his zone with the slot man - Page can't be in two places at once.
In the end, I think it will be low scoring. I also have the feeling it could be Washington's last win this season ... if they do win it.
Washington 20, UCLA 17
Dawn Van Diest, Sports Washington. Record: 7-1: Shhh, I've been in deep meditation all week, and my mantras will be repeated until 4 PM Saturday…
Offensive line … you will open up holes. Running backs … you will see the holes and slash through them. Defensive line … you will prey on a freshman quarterback and tear him to shreds. Corners … you will see the ball in the air and rise up and snatch it away. Crowd … you will release all the tensions of the week by incessant yelling and stomping. Offensive line … you will open up holes...
Washington 27, UCLA 20
Pat Thrapp, Columnist. Record: 6-2: Well here come the Bruins. Thankfully without DeShaun Foster, although Tyler Ebell is looking pretty good. For me this game is a good matchup for the Husky defense against the Bruin offense. They like to run more than they pass. The DAWGs defend the run pretty well. I hope UW can harass the young UCLA QB enough to force some errors. The Husky offense should be able to put some points on the board. I am hoping last week was just a down week for the players. I probably am thinking too much with my heart on this and not enough with my head. My head is skeptical until some improvement is seen. My heart says the Husky players will rise up and take a step forward. This week I will give them another chance to prove me right.
UW 31, UCLA 27
Henry Han, Intern. Record: 5-3: Let's look at the big picture. The bottom line is both of our areas of question showed improvement last week. The running game saw a spark of life, and the secondary held somebody to under 300 yards passing. However, they are going to need more than just mere improvements to salvage the rest of this season. They are OK now, but to put it lightly, they need to be GOOD and they need to be GOOD NOW. Sure it's homecoming, but who really thinks that at this point in the season it really matters if it is homecoming or not? Nobody wants to lose their homecoming game, but heck, does anyone ever want to lose ANY game? The defense needs to put as much pressure on the freshmen-dominated backfield of UCLA. I want to believe that the Dawgs are fired up and ready to attack and beat the living daylights out of a quality opponent, but I've been hoping for that the entire season and have yet to be satisfied. Now all I can hope for is: Keep it close. Washington will win another squeaker and go one up on their pursuit to keep the "streak" alive.
Prediction: Washington 34, UCLA 32
Edwin Kim, Intern. Record: 3-3: Blitz, Blitz, Blitz. The Huskies need to blitz. With a true freshman starting at quarterback for the Bruins one would think that the Husky defense would bring blitzes from all different directions. If they can mix up their blitz patterns and confuse the young Bruin quarterback, the Huskies should be fairly successful. If the Bruins rely on Tyler Ebell and the run then it's the Huskies' game to lose. The Huskies are now ranked 5th in the country against the run. I may be the biggest Husky optimist in the world but I'm thinking that the Husky offense gets back on track and the UCLA offense goes nowhere. Homecoming and all that jazz will help the crowd get involved. Bundle up folks it's going to be cold.
UW 31 - UCLA 24
Chris Fetters, Editor. Record: 6-2. It's been quite a long time since the Huskies have been backed into a corner like this. In 1998, Jim Lambright's Washington team lost two on the road, only to face UCLA at home the following week. They lost that game 36-24. Then again, UCLA was ranked third in the country at the time and had a pretty good senior quarterback. You might have heard of him - Cade McNown. This time, the Dawgs come in licking their wounds but face a totally different Bruin team, one that's led by two true freshman QB's. Whether Bob Toledo uses Matt Moore or Drew Olson, the result should be the same. I can't ever remember a time when a true frosh has come in and won an game at Husky Stadium. Jonathan Smith threw for 467 yards in 1998 as a redshirt frosh, but still lost a thriller to the Dawgs. Plain and simple - Tyler Ebell will be asked to win this game for the Bruins. He's rushed for over 100 yards in every game he's started so far this year, and there's a good chance he'll get his 100 on Saturday. But the Dawgs will force Moore or Olson to throw and should make their debut in Husky Stadium an uncomfortable one. As long as the defense can make a couple big plays early, the crowd will respond in kind and will be a determining factor in the game, as those frosh will be put in a situation they've never been in before. Growing pains are tough and they'll learn, but they'll do it at the expense of a loss - a loss to a team that needs a 'W' in the worst way.
Washington 24 - UCLA 16
Kim Grinolds, Business Operations. Record: 4-4: An opposing pure freshman QB without much experience playing in Husky Stadium will not bode well for the Bruins. Expect the Bruins offense to struggle, as the Dawgs will stack the box, shutting down the Bruins running game. Tyler Ebell won't get enough yards, as the Huskies will force the Bruin QB to beat them.
He won't, and Pickett will make them pay through the air. This one won't be close.
Dawgs 31 - Bruins 10
David Samek, Publisher. Record: 7-1: UCLA can run the ball. They've got a smurf named Tyler Ebell (5-8 170) that has gone for over 100-yards in four straight games. Saturday is when his streak comes to an end. Sure, UCLA has a great offensive line, led by OT Bryce Bohlander, but Washington can and will stop the run. Ebell will not break any runs longer than 10 yards, which will force the Bruins to go through the air with a freshman quarterback. If there was a game that the Dawgs were going to turn themselves loose, it's this one. On offense, I believe that Cody Pickett will have success finding TE Kevin Ware early, and that Chris Singleton will get the start and get enough yards to make UCLA defend the run. That will provide Pickett with the time needed to open it up later, and he will. With Ricky Manning watching Reggie Williams, it may be time to see Paul Arnold get some love. If not, perhaps ET will get some good vibrations. Any way you slice it, I see a Husky home victory in a must-win situation.
Prediction: Washington 27, UCLA 14
To read last week's predictions against ASU, CLICK HERE.
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