One of the teams in this matchup is undefeated in Pac-12 play and surprisingly it isn’t Washington. Arizona sits atop the South division standings after wins over UCLA and Colorado. That’s brought this spread a bit down as the Huskies were -6 point road favorites with an over/under of 58 as of Wednesday.
Washington was the favorite to win the Pac-12 and then it lost at home to Cal and most recently at Stanford. The offense has struggled to move the ball consistently which has led to some low-scoring games.
That’s fine for Arizona, who beat UCLA through defense and then scored 35 points at Colorado. Of course, those two wins may be the easiest in the conference so there’s a chance the Wildcats get exploited against a better team. Then again, there’s a chance the Huskies completely fall apart and lose their third game.
On the surface, Washington’s offense doesn’t seem like a problem with quarterback Jacob Eason completing 65.7% of his passes on 8.0 yards per attempt for 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.
The same goes for running backs Salvon Ahmed and Richard Newton, who have a combined 753 rushing yards, both on more than five yards per carry. Dive a little deeper and only one of Eason’s touchdowns has come from three conference games. That’s not going to get it done, especially when the ground game goes for just 88 yards like it did in the loss to Stanford.
It helps that Arizona’s defense is bad, allowing 478 yards and almost 30 points per game. However, UW’s offense has yet to show it can put up huge numbers against better competition and that’s exactly what will keep the Wildcats around.
The other part is that Arizona’s offense has the potency to put points up against Washington. The Huskies may have the best defense that Arizona has faced, but they also have allowed at least 14 points in every game.
Arizona is led by Kahlil Tate, who is averaging 9.1 yards per pass and while he has five interceptions to nine touchdowns, his athleticism usually makes up for it with 261 rushing yards, second on the team.
Running back J.J. Taylor is questionable to play, but Gary Brightwell has been good in his absence and has a better 6.5 yards per carry thanks to a 94-yard touchdown run. In prior years, Washington would control the line of scrimmage and limit Arizona in the ground game, but that may not be the case this year as it’s allowing close to 150 rushing yards per contest.
If Tate keeps the ball safe, the Wildcats will likely take a run-first approach and hope that’s enough to move the chains. If not, relying on Tate and his arm could be a problem for the home team with interceptions always a worry.
When these teams met a few years ago, the Wildcats moved the ball freely and almost got the upset as a 16-point home underdog. Those were different teams, but the Huskies were arguably better that season than they are now.
The under is 5-1 in Washington’s last six road games and the over is 5-1 in Arizona’s last six against a team with a winning record. The Wildcats are 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine on grass and the home team is 8-1 ATS in the last nine meetings between these schools.