Huskies not overlooking Pac-12 cellar-dweller Colorado
The Huskies could become bowl eligible with a victory over Colorado on Saturday. The Buffaloes are winless in Pac-12 play this season.
Seattle Times staff reporter
It has been 413 days since Colorado’s last win over a Pac-12 Conference opponent, and the Washington Huskies don’t want to play any part in ending that streak Saturday night.
“Of course not,” UW quarterback Keith Price said. “This is our first step to ultimately achieving our goals later down the road, so we’re not overlooking anybody. We understand we can’t have seven wins, you know what I mean?”
The Huskies (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12), idle last week, begin their November push to get over the 7-6 hump with a chance to become bowl eligible and even their conference record against Colorado (3-5, 0-5). Kickoff at Husky Stadium is set for 5 p.m. for a Pac-12 Networks broadcast.
The Huskies then have a short week to prepare for their showdown against UCLA in the Rose Bowl next Friday.
“This is going to be a great stretch run for us,” UW coach Steve Sarkisian said. “We’ve played really good football in the second half of ballgames; I think we’re going to play great football in the second half of the season and ultimately the fourth quarter.”
Washington snapped a three-game losing skid two weeks ago with a 41-17 rout of rebuilding California. Colorado, a 28-point underdog, comes in with a similar pedigree, sporting a 13-game losing streak in conference play and starting a true freshman at quarterback in Tacoma native Sefo Liufau.
The Buffaloes hung tough for three quarters at UCLA last week before the Bruins pulled away for a 45-23 victory.
“They’re a confident team and they stick around — they stick around against some good teams,” Price said. “They’re going to come in here and try to win.”
The Huskies will be without their most established receiver, junior Kasen Williams, who broke his leg against California. But the Huskies should benefit from the return of starting left guard Dexter Charles, who missed the past two games with a shoulder injury.
Huskies offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto called the line’s performance an “abomination” after UW’s blowout loss at Arizona State on Oct. 19. Sarkisian and Price have each praised how the O-line has responded since.
“They’ve been awesome,” Price said. “I thought they played a pretty solid game against Cal, and it’s just about growth, man. It’s about us growing as a unit, as an offensive unit. It’s not just the offensive line. There were times I got out of (the pocket) too early because of my lack of trust. It’s not all on the offense line. But we’ll be better.”
Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, meanwhile, called Colorado’s offensive line “totally underrated.” The Buffaloes also feature one of the nation’s best receivers in Paul Richardson, and freshman Michael Adkins II, Colorado’s most productive running back, is expected to return from a concussion.
“The quarterback has provided them a spark,” Wilcox said of the Buffaloes’ shift to Liufau last month. “You see the difference in the attitude they play with.”
Liufau, a Bellarmine Prep product, will be making the fourth start of his career in front of family and friends at Husky Stadium.
Price will appear in his 43rd game for the Huskies, and he said he’s 100 percent healthy after injuring his thumb at Stanford early last month.
“Keith this week has gotten better and better and better,” Sarkisian said after Thursday’s practice.
And after a rough October, the Huskies expect to start a better November on Saturday night.
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @a_jude