The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

87° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA has tough test when they welcome the ninth ranked Washington Huskies to Arizona Stadium

Washington+quarterback+Jake+Browning+prepares+to+throw+the+ball+during+Washingtons+59-14+win+over+the+Idaho+Vandals+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+10+in+Seattle%2C+Wash.
Courtesy Eli D’Albora / The Dail
Washington quarterback Jake Browning prepares to throw the ball during Washington’s 59-14 win over the Idaho Vandals on Saturday, Sept. 10 in Seattle, Wash.

Saturday marks the beginning of conference play for the Arizona football team, and the Wildcats would be hard-pressed to find a tougher opponent. The No. 9 Washington Huskies are coming to town, so Brandon Dawkins and the Wildcats have their work cut out for them.

Washington dismantled the Wildcats 49-3 in Seattle last season, as then-freshman Jake Browning carved Arizona’s defense for four touchdowns. Arizona may be riding high coming off back-to-back victories, but Washington is a much different animal.

Arizona’s last-second field goal lifted the Wildcats over Washington 27-26 the last time the Huskies traveled to Tucson in 2014. The game looked like a sure Huskies win until Arizona recovered a fumble and Casey Skowron cashed in from 47-yards to give the Wildcats the win.

Since coming to Arizona, head coach Rich Rodriguez and the Wildcats have had a penchant for upsetting top-10 teams. They are 3-1 against such opponents at Arizona Stadium since 2012. Add in last year’s drubbing in Seattle and the Wildcats will definitely be motivated come Saturday.

“Those games are probably the easiest to motivate,” Rodriguez said. “When you play a top team, there will be a lot of buildup during the week. It is on the ESPN ticker all of the time and you come to this level to play those games.”

Arizona is coming off of a dominant rushing performance against Hawaii that saw both Dawkins and freshman J.J. Taylor register their first 100-yard performances. A lot has changed since the season opener when Dawkins saw no playing time and Taylor had one carry for negative four yards against BYU. The young duo will now be heavily relied on this Saturday.

If Anu Solomon is a go and coach Rodriguez decides to play him, he will look to avenge his last two games against Washington. Solomon has zero touchdowns and two interceptions in two career games against the Huskies.

Washington’s defense is allowing only 10 points per game, so whoever lines up under center for Arizona will need to be productive and careful with the ball.

If the Wildcats are going to have any success, they will need to play Browning much better than last year’s performance. The sophomore quarterback has 744 yards and 12 touchdowns to only one interception through three games. Washington is averaging 49 points per game this year.

Running back Myles Gaskin complements Browning in the backfield and has carried the ball 40 times for 217 rushing yards and two touchdowns this season. Browning has a plethora of targets to throw to with John Ross, Chico McClatcher and Darrell Daniels, and they will present a challenge for Arizona’s defensive backs.

“Last year [at Washington], our game plan was to … take advantage of [Browning] because he was a younger guy,” linebacker Michael Barton said. “Watching him on tape is like a 180 with the poise he has, the way he commands the offense and the way he makes accurate passes.”

Arizona and No. 9 Washington kickoff in Arizona Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.


Follow Ivan Leonard on Twitter


More to Discover
Activate Search