First look: Washington's Keith Price might enjoy Arizona's pass rush

Otto Greule Jr - Getty Images

Needing a break, Washington Huskies quarterback Keith Price might get that against the Arizona Wildcats' anemic pass rush.

The Washington Huskies' offensive line is a bit mangled, and quarterback Keith Price needs a confidence boost. Like the Arizona Wildcats, U-Dub has a 3-3 record and could use any good news entering Saturday's game in Tucson.

How about the number 6?

Six times this season have the Wildcats gotten to an opposing quarterback in the backfield, and that's just one more than the number of times the USC Trojans sacked Price last week in their 24-14 victory against the Huskies. UW gives up 3.2 sacks per game this year, 114th among FBS schools according to TeamRankings.com.

So will it be Arizona finally getting its successful pass run on, or could the Huskies finally buy Price enough time to eclipse the 200-yard passing mark that he hasn't exceeded since Washington's opening game against San Diego State on Sept. 1?

Considering Price is looking at this midseason point as a time to get his confidence back and his head straight after struggling through the first six games of the year, the Wildcats run the risk of it being the latter case. Price has thrown for just 1,080 yards this year -- about half that of Matt Scott's totals -- along with seven touchdowns and six interceptions.

That's not usual for the junior.

If you don't quite remember, that's coming from a quarterback who, arguably, outdid Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III in last year's Alamo Bowl. Then, he threw for four touchdowns and 438 yards without an interception and added 39 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Griffin threw for 295 yards, one touchdown and ran for 55 yards and another score as the Baylor Bears won in a 67-56 shootout.

Point being, Price's talent is there. He's trying to find his mojo.

"He's a very creative quarterback, if you want to use that term, where he can create plays for our offense by using his legs," Sarkisian told The News Tribune.

But Price has been banged up as part of that creative running game, often not knowing when to drop or when to throw the ball away in the pocket.

Though Washington hasn't won in Tucson since 2006, Saturday's game presents a lot of similarities between the teams.

Both are led by able-bodied quarterbacks that have suffered from a lack of protection up front. Both have had their confidence questioned by either themselves or by outsiders. But both are still capable of being the two most deadly offensive players in the conference come the end of the year -- no disrespect to Sean Mannion, Matt Barkley, Taylor Kelly or otherwise.

The Wildcats, on defense, might be licking their lips at the lack of protection by the Washington offensive line. That, or Price will finally be happy to buy himself the extra few seconds to gain some semblance of a rhythm that he enjoyed through a breakout season in 2011.

UW head coach Steve Sarkisian thinks Price's turnaround is coming -- and now. Against UA's lack of a pass rush, it's hard to argue against.

"I think he's on the right path to getting back playing the type of football that he's capable of playing," Sarkisian said. "I think he's only going to get better this Saturday at Arizona."

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