A two-year losing streak that continues to vex Arizona began in October 2019 against Washington. The Wildcats went into that game 4-1, leading the Pac-12 South and then the Huskies at halftime, before Washington took control.
It's been a dizzying decline for Arizona (0-6, 0-3 Pac-12) since, one that the Wildcats will try to pull themselves out of on Friday night in Tucson.
Washington comes into Arizona Stadium looking to pull itself out of its own tailspin and keep hopes of the postseason alive. The Huskies' loss at home last week to UCLA was their second straight defeat and dropped them to 1-2 in Pac-12 play (2-4 overall).
Washington at Arizona
Kickoff: Friday, Oct. 22 at 10:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Washington -18
When Washington Has the Ball
Washington's struggles as a team begin with its inconsistencies on offense. The Huskies rank 100th in the country at 23.5 points per game, but that number's inflated by a 52-point outpouring against an overmatched Arkansas State bunch.
Excluding that one, Washington is scoring only 17.8 points per game, right in line with its output last week against UCLA.
Quarterback Dylan Morris has thrown as many interceptions (eight) as touchdowns, and his yards per attempt total just 6.9.
Morris may not need to put up gaudy passing numbers against an Arizona defense that has been badly gashed on the ground. He just needs to avoid costly turnovers.
The Wildcats are allowing almost 197 rushing yards game, largely losing a war of attrition due to its own offensive struggles. Washington's rushing attack has been lackluster at 3.4 yards per carry, but Kamari Pleasant has broken off a few long gains in the last two outings. The return of Sean McGrew to the lineup after missing the first games of the season gives the Huskies options for mixing up looks against Arizona.
When Arizona Has the Ball
After being shut out last week at Colorado, Arizona is all the way at the bottom of the FBS, tied with New Mexico for a nation's-worst 14 points per game.
The outlook for recovery is bleak with promising quarterback Jordan McCloud lost for the season due to injury. UA also lost Gunner Cruz for the year, leaving Will Plummer — who threw two interceptions in the historic loss to Northern Arizona — guiding the offense.
The Wildcats have to mount some kind of rushing attack, but their top two ball carriers are both averaging just barely over three yards per carry, and the team has a combined one score on the ground this season. This could be a get-right game for a Washington defense that's been uncharacteristically porous against the rush, allowing almost 4.8 yards per carry and 191.3 yards per game.
A failed red-zone opportunity at the one-yard line against Colorado led to the flood gates opening and yet another Arizona loss. The blowout defeat was indicative of the deluge Wildcats football has endured for the past two years, beginning against Washington.
While the Huskies are playing for their bowl lives heading into the season's back half, Washington's been competitive in losses to Oregon State and UCLA; 10 points is all that separates it from a perfect record and the Pac-12 North lead.
Expect Washington to do what so many others in the Pac-12 have for two rotations of the Earth around the sun and use Arizona to shake out of its rut.
Prediction: Washington 35, Arizona 14
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