Preview: Washington at California
A bye week hasn’t lessened sting for Washington.
So inept was UW’s offense against Stanford, questions continue to swirl about whether Cyler Miles is the quarterback of the future. Those questions are bound to arise after Miles completed 15 of 29 passes for 98 yards. But more disconcerting to Husky fans was how discombobulated Miles became amid a pass rush that had him bailing out of the pocket at first chance.
Still, UW players are rallying around the sophomore signal-caller. They’re going to need a healthy dose of offense against a resurgent Cal team led by up-and-coming gunslinger Jared Goff. The sophomore threw for 527 yards and five touchdowns in Cal’s 60-59 win over WSU last week.
The Golden Bears have the nation’s third best passing offense at 398.2 yards per game and the second-best scoring offense at 50.0 points per game. They will offer a big test to a UW defensive backfield that starts two freshmen and a sophomore. The Huskies rank 105th out of 124 Division-I teams in passing yardage allowed at 268.8 yards per game.
To take the pressure of Miles, Washington needs more production from its run game. The Huskies managed just 81 yards on the ground against Stanford and haven’t had a 100-yard rusher since Sept. 6 against Eastern Washington.
Washington at California
When: 3 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium, Berkeley
TV, radio: Fox, AM-1550
Records: UW 4-1, 0-1; Cal 4-1, 2-1
Key to game: The best way to disrupt a quarterback is a good pass rush, as the Huskies saw first-hand against Stanford. Therefore, UW sack leaders Danny Shelton and Hau’oli Kikaha can give the Husky secondary a big hand by pressuring Goff.
Quotable: “The whole offense needs to be designed to make the quarterback successful. So how can we do that? Well, we’ve got to run the ball. It starts there. And all of a sudden it’s a little easier to play quarterback when you can do some of those things.” — UW coach Chris Petersen.
Prediction: Cal 35-31