Washington Football vs. Colorado: Huskies Can't Look Past Buffs

Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

There's no reason to think the Huskies won't take care of business against a struggling Colorado team, but they will still need to keep their focus to avoid getting upset by the desperate Buffaloes.

The Huskies are right where they need to be at 6-4. They are bowl eligible with a couple of signature wins and now only the two worst teams standing between them and the most games they have won in a season in the Steve Sarkisian era. The Rose Bowl dreams that have enamored the fan base for years now are still a season or two away, but eight or nine wins for an injury plagued team that only has a few seniors would be a huge accomplishment.

Judging from how the ways things always go in college football, at least one of these last two games will not be the easy win that one would expect the Huskies to get against teams that have one conference win between them. Sarkisian's task now is to make sure that his team can stay focused and take Colorado and Washington State seriously, which will be tougher on the road, but something that a fourth year coach should be able to do with a team that suddenly is looking like they can finish near the top of the Pac-12.

What Husky fans should be confident about

Colorado's run defense - The Buffaloes defense just gave up the biggest game a Pac-12 running back has ever had last Saturday, surrendering 366 yards to Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey and it wasn't just a one game phenomenon as the Buffaloes give up an average of 227 yards per game on the ground.

Keith Price's confidence - Price finally had exactly the kind of game that he needed to have to get his confidence back last week against Utah. Price looked like his old self, executing play-action passes with ease, making plays with his feet and trusting Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Kasen Williams to make plays when he puts the ball up in the air. The confidence boost for Price came just in time as he faces another one of the conference's softer pass defense in Colorado's.

Interceptions - The Buffaloes quarterbacks have 13 interceptions to just 10 touchdowns and their inconsistent stable of quarterbacks should have a very tough time with a Husky pass defense that is opportunistic and makes quarterbacks pay for their mistakes.

What Husky fans should be worried about

Focus - Last year in the second to last game of the season, the Huskies went on the road to face an Oregon State team that only had two wins and they ended up getting beat by 17 points in an ugly game. The Huskies must focus and take the Buffaloes seriously, or risk getting into a tough game on the road.

Christian Powell - The Huskies have struggled a bit with tough runners in the last few weeks and have given up big runs to Storm Woods, C.J. Anderson and John White due to poor tackling. Powell is a massive back that isn't the fastest guy on the field, but that can break tackles and will be given a lot of carries as the Buffaloes will assuredly try to shorten the game and control the ball with their running game.

Road trip - Yes, the Huskies got the road game monkey off their back by beating a bad team Cal two weeks ago, but they looked painfully bad while they did and really only won because Cal played even worse than they did. The Huskies need to prove that they can play on the road by beating a team convincingly before anyone will believe that they aren't a very bad team on the road.

Players on the spot

Bishop Sankey - One of the hottest backs in the conference, Sankey is looking more and more like an all-conference level running back each week. The Huskies will expect him to carry the ball more than 30 times and Boulder and he needs to be able to shoulder a heavy work load and keep his past fumbling problems behind him.

Keith Price - One of the only ways that I can see the Buffaloes staying in the game is if the Huskies are sloppy with the ball and no one on Washington is more careless with the ball than Price. Price needs to replicate the game he had against Utah and not force things while also protecting the ball.

Danny Shelton - The Buffaloes will likely try to shorten the game by running the ball and it will be up to Shelton to make sure that they don't do that.

Prediction

Colorado is bad, like really bad, like comically bad and there is no reason that the Huskies should win this game by at least three scores but like I mentioned earlier, in college football it's never that easy. Despite looking like one of the worst teams in recent conference history, the Buffaloes actually played Arizona better than the Huskies did and their offense was able to come alive a little bit and score 31 points.

I don't think the Huskies will come out and control this game from the get go, but I think they will follow the same game plan they did against Utah and control the ball, make the big plays when they are there and shut down the Colorado offense for the most part. The Buffaloes offense will have a little more success than Husky fans would like, but the Huskies will ultimately wear down their defense with the run and the defense will get a couple turnovers that break the Buffaloes back.

Washington 31 Colorado 17

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