GAME: Portland State (1-1 overall, 0-0 Big Sky) at Washington (1-1 overall, 0-0 Pac-12). WHEN: Saturday, 1 p.m. PT, CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 1st. COACHES: Nigel Burton, Portland State; Steve Sarkisian, Washington. RANKINGS: Neither ranked. LINE: No line. TV: FX. RADIO: KJR-950 AM, 102.9 FM
The Washington Huskies have never met the Big Sky’s Portland State Vikings in football, and they couldn’t have picked a better time to do it than Saturday. The Huskies are coming off a 41-3 embarrassment at LSU and will face four consecutive nationally ranked teams over the next month. Three of the four — No. 21 Stanford (Sept. 27), No. 4 Oregon (Oct. 6) and No. 2 USC (Oct. 13) — combined to beat Washington 139-55 last season.
In Portland State, the Huskies will encounter a team coached by former Huskies’ captain Nigel Burton (1996-98), whose team has struggled so much defensively — the Vikings have allowed 55 points in two games — that Wednesday Burton fired his defensive coordinator, Erick Jackson.
Portland State’s defensive problems obviously come as welcome news to UW quarterback Keith Price, who played, by his own admission, one of the worst games of his career in the opener against San Diego State, and then came back last Saturday at LSU and failed to complete 50 percent of his passes (a career first) behind an unstable offensive line.
Price has two main problems: a young line that’s had too many injuries, and a running game that has done little, especially since the loss of Jesse Callier to an ACL tear. To compensate, Price has tried to carry the offense, with little success.
“I want (No.) 17 to worry about 17 and not have to try to take responsibility for everybody, and allow us coaches to do a lot of that,” coach Steve Sarkisian said this week.
Portland State should provide Price ample opportunity. The Vikings defeated NAIA Carroll College 35-20 in their season opener, then lost to North Dakota 47-35 Saturday. The Vikings are allowing 372 yards per game (the Huskies are allowing 382.0), which is why Jackson is no longer defensive coordinator.
Sarkisian’s Huskies have gone seven quarters without scoring a touchdown. After taking a 14-0 lead over San Diego State in the first quarter two weeks ago, Washington’s only score has been a field goal at LSU.
“This week is totally about us, and that’s to take nothing away from Nigel (Burton) and Portland State,” Sarkisian said this week. “For our program to get back on track we have to focus on ourselves right now.
“We have to become a disciplined football team, a smart football team and one that plays the cards, or plays the hand, or plays the call from the sideline, that they’re dealt. We want to execute at a high level and still play with the tremendous effort and want-to that our kids possess. So we have our work cut out for us.”
The Huskies have had a number of significant injuries (17 key players have missed time since UW launched preseason practice), but Sarkisian said this week that he will follow a policy in place at several Pac-12 schools and refuse to discuss them from here on out.
“We are not going to comment on injuries anymore,” Sarkisian said. “I’m not. No one in our organization is. It’s just a competitive disadvantage for us when other teams don’t and we do, so that’s going to be the road we take.”
SERIES: The game marks the first between the schools, mainly because Portland State, UW’s nearest rival, was a Division II program well into the 1990s and was only founded in 1946.
UW HEAD COACH: Steve Sarkisian (20-20-0) is in his fourth season as head coach of the Huskies. After producing a 5-7 record in his first year (2009), Sarkisian guided the Huskies to a 7-6 record in 2010, which ended with a 19-7 victory over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. That marked Washington’s first postseason game since the 2002 Sun Bowl. Sarkisian coached the Huskies to another 7-6 record in 2011 and a berth opposite Baylor in the Alamo Bowl. Prior to joining the Huskies, Sarkisian served as a USC assistant under Pete Carroll (2001-03, 2005-08). He also worked as an Oakland Raiders assistant in 2004. Sarkisian played quarterback at Brigham Young University and later played in the Canadian Football League.
UW STATS / NOTES
- SEASON SUMMARY: Record: 1-1. Home: 1-0. Road: 0-1. Neutral: 0-0. Vs. Pac-12: 0-0. Vs. Pac-12 North: 0-0. Vs. Pac-12 South: 0-0. Vs. Non-Conference: 1-1. Points For: 24 (12.0). Rushing Yards Per Game: 66.0. Passing Yards Per Game: 189.5. Total Offense Per Game: 255.5. Points Against: 53 (26.5). Opp. Rushing Yards Per Game: 220.5. Opp. Passing Yards Per Game: 161.5. Total Defense Per Game: 382.0.
- PAC-12 RANKS: Scoring Offense — 11th (12.0); Scoring Defense — 8th (26.5); Total Offense — 12th (255.5); Total Defense — T6 (382.0); Rushing Offense — 11th (66.0); Rushing Defense — 12th (220.5); Passing Offense — 11th (189.5); Pass Defense — 3rd (161.5); Passing Efficiency — 12th (105.8).
- Huskies have played games against only two of the 13 teams that comprise the Big Sky Conference. Washington edged one of those two, Eastern Washington, 30-27, in the season opener last year, the only meeting between UW and EWU. The other is Montana, once a member of the Pacific Coast Conference.
- Quarterback Keith Price set a UW, single-season record for passing efficiency in 2011 with a mark of 161.09. Through two games this season, Price’s efficiency rating is 105.83.
- Price has thrown one TD pass and one INT this season. Last year after two games (Eastern Washington, Hawaii), he had seven TD passes and one INT.
- Price ranks ninth among Pac-12 quarterbacks in passing yards per game, 189.5, and is not ranked among passing efficiency leaders.
- TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins ranks fifth in the Pac-12 in average receptions per game at 7.5 and 10th in yards per game, 66.5.
- Jaydon Mickens ranks fifth in the Pac-12 in kickoff return average, 19.2 yards.
- With a career-high 10 tackles in the game last Saturday at LSU, UW nose tackle Danny Shelton became the first defensive lineman to record double-digit tackles in a game since Daniel Te’o-Nesheim had 11 in the 2008 Apple Cup.
- Washington offensive coordinator and QBs coach Eric Kiesau is a Portland State graduate (1996) and was the Vikings’ starting quarterback in 1996.
- Washington has just one player from the state of Oregon (James Atoe from The Dalles).
WASHINGTON TWO DEEPS
WR: KASEN WILLIAMS, Cody Bruns. LT: MICAH HATCHIE, Dexter Charles. LG: COLIN TANIGAWA, Dexter Charles. C: DREW SCHAEFER, Erik Kohler. RG: JAMES ATOE OR SHANE BROSTEK. RT: MIKE CHRISTE OR DEXTER CHARLES. TE: AUSTIN-SEFERIAN-JENKINS, Michael Hartvigson; QB: KEITH PRICE, Derrick Brown. TB: BISHOP SANKEY, Erich Wilson. FB: JONATHAN AMOSA, Cole Sager. WR: JAYDON MICKENS OR KEVIN SMITH. WR: KENDYL TAYLOR, DiAndre Campbell.
DE: TALIA CRICHTON, Pio Vatuvei. NT: DANNY SHELTON, Semisi Tokolahi. DE: ANDREW HUDSON, Semisi Tokolahi. R: JOSH SHIRLEY, Connor Cree. LB: TRAVIS FEENEY, Princeton Fuimaono. LB: JOHN TIMU, Thomas Tutogi. LB: PRINCETON FUIMAONO, Taz Stevenson.NI: SHAQ THOMPSON, Sean Parker. S: WILL SHAMBURGER OR JUSTIN GLENN. S: SEAN PARKER, Anthony Gobern. CB: DESMOND TRUFANT, Marcus Peters. CB: TRE WATSON, Gregory Ducre.
PK: TRAVIS COONS; P: KOREY DURKEE. KR: JAYDON MICKENS, Shaq Thompson, Jesse Callier, Kevin Smith. PR: KASEN WILLIAMS, Jaydon Mickens. LS: RYAN MASEL. HLD: CODY BRUNS.
HUSKIES OFFENSIVE LEADERS
|Keith Price||2||71||42||379||1 /1||105.8|
HUSKIES DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Tutogi 13, Timu 12, Parker 12, Shelton 12, Glenn 12|
|Sacks||Hudson, Freeney, Trufant, Shirley, all 1|
|Passes Defensed||Watson 4, Smith 1|
|Forced Fumbles||Feeney, Fuimaono, 1|
|Fumbles Recovered||Tutogi, Glenn, Shamberger, all 1|
Pac-12 Standings / North
|Oregon||2-0||0-0||Saturday vs. Tenn Tech., 12:30 p.m., Pac-12|
|Stanford||2-0||0-0||Saturday vs. USC, 4:30 p.m., FOX|
|Oregon St.||1-0||0-0||Sept. 22 at UCLA, 12:30 p.m., ABC|
|California||1-1||0-0||Saturday at Ohio State, 9 a.m., ABC|
|Washington||1-1||0-0||Saturday vs. Portland St., 1 p.m., FX|
|WSU||2-1||0-0||Washington State 35, at UNLV 27|
Pac-12 Standings / South
|Arizona||2-0||0-0||Saturday vs. S. Car. St., 7:30 p.m., Pac-12|
|Arizona St.||2-0||0-0||Saturday at Missouri, 4 p.m., ESPN2|
|UCLA||2-0||0-0||Saturday vs. Houston, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12|
|USC||2-0||0-0||Saturday at Stanford, 4:30 p.m., FOX|
|Utah||1-1||0-0||Saturday vs. BYU, 7 p.m., ESPN2|
|Colorado||0-2||0-0||Saturday at Fresno, 5 p.m., CBS|
PORTLAND STATE: Vikings average 37.5 points per game (3rd, Big Sky) and allow 32.5 (9th). Vikings average 437.5 yards per game and yield 372.0. Vikings rush for 173.0 yards per game and pass for 264.5 . . . After two games, Portland State is 4-for-4 in red-zone chances . . . D.J. Adams, Portland State’s leading rusher, is averaging 113.0 yards per game (2nd, Big Sky). Adams scored three touchdowns . . . PSU quarterback Kieran McDonagh has completed 29 of 57 passes for 493 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. McDonagh ranks fifth in the Big Sky with 260.0 yards per game in total offense . . . PSU’s roster includes 14 players from the state of Washington. Of those 14, Tyler Rogers went to Lakes, the same school as Huskies Jamaal Kearse, Sione Potoa’e and Willis Wilson; PSU’s Julious went to Bellevue, the alma mater of Huskies Jake Eldrenkamp and Michael Kneip. Other Huskies and Vikings who attended the same high school: PSU’s Dennis Taylor and UW’s Josh Shirley (Kaiser); PSU’s John Archuleta and UW’s Kendyl Taylor (Hamilton); PSU’s Junior Alexis and Nick Alexander and UW’s Gregory Ducre (Crenshaw).
HEAD COACH Nigel Burton (10-14, Portland State): A 1999 graduate of the University of Washington, where he was a three-year starter at safety, Burton became Portland State’s head coach Dec. 8, 2009. Burton began his coaching career in 2000 at South Florida, worked with defensive backs at Portland State from 2001-02, worked at Oregon State from 2003-07 and at Nevada as defensive coordinator in 2008-09. Under Burton’s direction, the Vikings had their first winning season (7-4) in 2011 since 2006. Burton has two ex-Husky players on his staff, Lester Towns and Ikaika Malloe, a former walk-on who earned four UW letters.
COMING UP: The Huskies play their next four games against teams ranked in this week’s Associated Press poll: Stanford, Oregon, USC and Arizona.
University of Washington 2012 Schedule/Results
|Date||Opponent||UW Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|9/1/12||vs. SD State||—||—||W||21-12||1-0|
|9/15/12||vs. Port. State||—||—||—||—||—|
UW 21, San Diego State 12 (Sept. 1): Keith Price completed 25 of 35 passes for 222 yards and an eight-yard TD to Kasen Williams, and Will Shamburger returned a fumble 44 yards to a touchdown as Washington defeated San Diego State in front of 53,742 at CenturyLink Field. The UW defense, maligned throughout the 2011 season, gave up 199 rushing yards but just 128 passing yards, recovered two fumbles, had three sacks and an interception.
LSU 41, Washington 3 (Sept. 8): No. 3 LSU sacked Keith Price four times, hit him an additional dozen times and romped easily to victory over Washington in the Huskies’ first trip to the Southeastern Conference since 1983. LSU outgained Washington 437 yards to 170 and held Price to 157 passing yards with one interception.