How Bad is Washington's Defense?
When looking ahead to this Saturday and trying to think of what Charlie Weis and Notre Dame's game plan may consist of, its difficult to come up with much of an idea on anything because when you look at statistics, Washington is horrible all around.
The idea of running the football is a great one when it works but for Notre Dame that has been a major problem once again in 2008 as the offense is yet to be able to do so outside of the Pitt game. This could be a week where Notre Dame really gets the running game going based on the fact they are playing a horrendous run defense. How bad you ask?
Washington ranks 115th in the nation in run defense, allowing 232.8 yards a game on the ground.
So its simple right, just pound Hughes and Aldridge and get Armando some carries to spread things out a bit right? Well not so fast. That's because the Huskies improve rankings wise in the passing game but still:
Rank 98th in the nation in pass defense, allowing 250.17 yards a game through the air.
Ouch. So what will Charlie do, let Jimmy have the chance at a field day against the Huskies and air it out all evening long? Or will he stick with the ground attack? Or both?
Washington ranks 117th in total defense, allowing 483 yards a game and 40.7 points per contest.
When Notre Dame scheduled the Huskies a few years back the Irish thought they were getting an admirable opponent, as Washington was in the midst of eight straight bowl appearances. Turns out the Huskies turned into a cupcake, something nobody outside of South Bend saw coming when Willingham was brought in.
The only worry I have with this game is the team headed on a long plane ride west. So far this year teams who have traveled from the west coast to the midwest or vice versa have not fared well (Ohio State at USC, Michigan State at Cal, Cal at Maryland, etc...). What also concerns me is that under Willingham the Irish always came out at home jacked up and beat a team who was better than them (2004: Michigan, 2003: Washington State, 2002: Michigan) and I worry about that happening out west this year.
And by worry I mean maybe for a drive or two Washington looks like they belong on the same field as Notre Dame. Ladies and gentlemen, this one for all intensive purpose should be a romp.
Irish 44 Huskies 17