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Road has been tough on Huskies

Washington's offense needs to cure its early game struggles tonight against Cal

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By Scott M. Johnson
Herald Writer
Published:
Based on the way the University of Washington football team has been starting games this season, particularly on the road, the best time to begin this weekend's contest against Cal may well be sometime around 11 p.m. Saturday.
But the Huskies instead have to try to find a way to churn up their engines even earlier than usual when they face Cal tonight in a rare Friday night Pac-12 Conference game.
The contest comes just six days after a memorable home win over seventh-ranked Oregon State, yet even that game showed some early offensive struggles. The Huskies had three-and-outs on two of their first three possessions and didn't get into the end zone until late in the first half.
A week before that, UW fell behind 24-3 at Arizona. USC led the Huskies 24-7 at the half in an Oct. 13 Huskies loss, and UW spotted Oregon the first 21 points and a 35-7 halftime advantage. Even Stanford led 13-3 before the Huskies woke up and knocked off the Cardinal on Sept. 27. Just three times in eight games this season has UW scored double digits by halftime.
"We've always tried to pride ourselves on a good game plan, (a) good first 15 plays in our script," UW head coach Steve Sarkisian said. "For whatever reason this year, they haven't been as good."
The Huskies (4-4 overall, 2-3 in the Pac-12) have been particularly slow out of the gate on the road. In three road games this season, all blowout losses, the Huskies have fallen behind by an aggregate score of 76-13 by the midway point of the second quarter. The closest of those games was a 31-point loss at Oregon, and UW's defense has allowed 41 or more points in every road outing this season.
Another common thread in the three road games is that they've all come against teams currently ranked in the latest BCS poll, including two national-title contenders in No. 4 Oregon and No. 5 LSU. So traveling to Berkeley to face a struggling Cal team (3-6, 2-4) could be just the kind of road trip UW needs to snap out of its travel funk.
"It's a great opportunity for our football team to mature, to take another step in the right direction of understanding the focus that is needed when you go on the road as a team," Sarkisian said.
Husky Nation is still basking in what could have been a season-saving win against Oregon State last week, so maybe a Friday night game comes at the right time. But this UW team hasn't been ready for any of its previous road games, which came one weekday later.
Ready or not, it's game on, Huskies.
Story tags » Huskies Football

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