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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona football hosts ‘physical’ Washington Huskies

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Rebecca Marie Sasnett

Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright (33) keeps his eyes on Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau (13) during Arizona’s 38-20 win against Colorado at Arizona Stadium on Saturday. Wright and the Wildcats host Washington this week in a game that should have siginificant Pac-12 Conference South implications.

Arizona football hosts a physical Washington team on Saturday afternoon in the Wildcats’ first day home game of the season. The No. 14/17 Wildcats (7-2, 4-2 Pac-12 Conference) play Washington at 1:30 p.m. on Fox.

Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez said the Huskies have running backs as big as the UA’s nose guard.

“They have a front seven that is as good as anyone in the country,” Rodriguez said. “They might have two or three of them being first-round picks.”

Washington quarterback Cyler Miles is No. 33 in the nation in pass efficiency.

“They have a big, strong quarterback and have a lot of speed, and they might be the biggest offensive line in college football,” Rodriguez said. “They have one guy that blocks out the sun, so it’s going to be a challenge for us because they’re so big, and we can’t grow 5 inches and 100 pounds in three days.”

The Huskies lost 44-30 to UCLA last week at home. The home team has won the last six games in the Arizona-Washington series.

Washington leads the nation in defensive touchdowns with seven and is second in the nation with 38 sacks. Linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha leads the nation in sacks and tackles for loss.

Shaq attack

Washington features dual threat linebacker/running back Shaq Thompson, who has scored four touchdowns on defense and two on offense.

Thompson is fifth in the nation with three fumble recoveries, and his 100-yard fumble return for a touchdown at Cal is one of just five 100-yard plays in Washington history.

Thompson is a Butkus Award semi-finalist and has started twice on offense. He has run for 463 yards on 61 carries.

“I have a lot of film to get into, but from what I have seen is that he is very athletic,” Arizona safety Jared Tevis said. “He is a hard runner, so we will have to get as many people to the ball.”

Thompson had a season-high 13 tackles against Arizona last year.

Rodriguez said the coaching staff toyed with Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright at running back last year.

“I think I just teased him enough that he thought maybe it would happen in the future,” Rodriguez said. “But he’s playing so many plays on defense now that we haven’t brought him over. Maybe in the future. We’ll see.”

Husky history

Washington features traditions such as tailgating by boat and its crowd cheer, the wave. Washington takes credit for inventing the wave in 1981. Husky fans tailgate on boats before Washington games in Union Bay, next to Husky Stadium.

In 1922, a committee picked the name Huskies over Wolves, Malamutes, Tyees, Vikings, Northmen and Olympics. Washington has a live mascot named “Dubs” and a costumed one named “Harry the Husky.”

Washington’s famous alumni include U.S. soccer player Hope Solo, martial artist Bruce Lee, Rainn Wilson from “The Office” and serial killer Ted Bundy.

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Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

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