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The Washington Huskies now face the three northwest schools, all in a row. The Dawgs have taken great pride in owning the rivalries with OSU, Oregon, and WSU, but this year a lot more will be on the line when they face those schools. Oregon State and their redshirt freshman quarterback are first up, this Saturday.

QB Cody Pickett was still disappointed about the UCLA loss, particularly the way the offense didn't take care of the football. "We turned the ball over too many times from my standpoint. You've got to hang onto the ball when it's Pac-10 play. Starting with Cal, we had more turnovers than they did and they beat us. If I don't turn the ball over on Saturday then we probably win the game," said Pickett, who was intercepted four times by the Bruins.

I was just trying to make plays. Sometimes I just put myself in bad situations. That's something I have to be more careful with. Even if you throw the ball that many times, by no means should you throw that many interceptions. There were sometimes when I should've thrown the ball away so we could punt, but it's kind of a hard thought. You don't really want to do that. You're competitive instinct tells you not to do that. You're trying to make a play, but I've got to get that out of my system. I've got to eat it, throw it away and punt if something isn't there. I've got to quit forcing balls and putting us in bad situations."

Pickett took a shot to the helmet and was dazed for a spell. "I got hit and got knocked a little bit dizzy, but I was fine. It was towards the end of the game, when I slid. I went to slide and the guy took a shot on me while I was going down. It wasn't a concussion," said Pickett.

Oregon State thumped the Huskies in Corvallis last year, but Pickett doesn't believe that any other motivation is needed other than winning a game this year. "The added incentive is that it is our next game, and we haven't won one in a while. We've got to start winning again. We're anxious to go out and play again and have another chance."

Defensive tackle Josh Miller has a simple goal for the next few weeks. "For me it's a mini-three game tournament. I want to be the Northwest champions," said the 6-3 275-pound sophomore.

"Our defensive line is doing well. We're stopping the run, and now we're getting some good pass rush in on the quarterbacks. I don't believe that we should change our defense, we didn't change our defense against UCLA. We just brought the four-man rush and they only got 150 yards or so passing. He was shaken up a bit after we hit him in the first quarter," said Miller, who hit Drew Miller a few times.

Now he faces another freshman QB, this time OSU's redshirt Derek Anderson: "We're basically going to do the same thing we did against UCLA. He's also in his first year starting so we won't change just for him. We've made big steps defensively. I believe that we should've won last weekend, but we didn't. We need get some W's, starting NOW."

Senior captain Elliott Zajac has been one frustrated leader, saddled with an ankle injury. He had a talk with Marques Tuiasosopo, who was visiting campus. "It's safe to say that he's definitely one of the best leaders to come through this program. He told me that you've got to keep telling them again and again. Be like a broken record until they get it. Ever since he said that to me in the locker room I keep thinking about it. So you just keep telling them and keep saying it and saying it and eventually it's going to get through," said Zajac.

"It's not exactly the happiest point in my life, but my dad came up and I got to spend a lot of time with him recently. We got to discuss what's best for my future, and that's healing. For me personally, I don't get away from (losing). It hounds me. It keeps me up at night. You can't really get away from it. If you watch the news it's there, you watch TV its there. It's in the papers, it's everywhere. If you go out you've got people looking at you saying what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be hiding under a rock? It's rough. It's all around you. You try to block it out, but it's there. As a competitor I hate losing. It's unacceptable in my world and it's unacceptable at the UW program. It eats away at my insides. The best way to cure it is to win. We need a win to get the taste out of our mouth. I thought it was this week, I really did."

When asked about the status of the Husky program, Zajac waxed philosophical on his final season. "We had high hopes for ourselves, our goal is always to be undefeated and to get to the Rose Bowl or somewhere else if need be. It's devastating, but as far as the program, there is a lot of tradition behind it. I have no doubt that this season will be forgotten about by next year."

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