Georgia presents a significant challenge for our Dawgs. The powerhouse from the SEC brings a highly talented roster full of speed and athleticism that Wash...wait, what's that? We're playing Georgia State? Oh. Never mind.
Georgia State is in only their 5th season of playing football, and just their 2nd season at the FBS level. Things have not been easy as you might expect - they were winless last year, and were just 1-11 the year before that (their last at the FCS level). Things are looking a bit more positive so far this year, but coming off 0-12 that's not saying a lot. The Panthers notched a 1-point win over FCS Abilene Christian in week 1, then dropped a tough loss to perennial doormat New Mexico State 34-31 and fell short last week vs. Air Force 48-38. On the positive side, the offense has found success, averaging 35.7 ppg and 523.7 ypg. That success has been mostly built off the passing game which has put up 373.7 ypg to rank 8th in the country. On the downside, the level of competition has been poor. On the scary side for Panther fans has been their defense which has allowed 490.7 ypg (114th nationally), an opponent passer rating of 167.3 (122nd nationally) and 201.3 ypg rushing (100th nationally). There's no good reason why Washington shouldn't win this one by a wide margin.
The Husky offense should have little trouble finding success on Saturday. It should serve as a chance for liberal substitutions across the board and is the kind of game that could (should?) produce multiple 100-yard rushers and allow both Jeff Lindquist and Troy Williams to get some game reps.
The defense will have a bit more of a challenge as the Georgia State offense isn't terrible. However it should be noted that they rank 89th in sacks allowed per game (2.33) - this should be another stat-stuffer game for Hau'oli Kikaha and a chance for the Hudson twins to register some sacks of their own.
With the Huskies rounding into form with each passing week under this staff, there's little reason to think this game will be much more than a glorified scrimmage and an opportunity to empty the bench. The Huskies race out to a big lead in the 1st half and then grind the clock away in the 2nd half: UW 52, Georgia St 20
The Huskies paid $900,000 for this. A matchup against
a rival a regional foe a national power an east-coast commuter school. An east coast commuter school stocked full of former Husky coaches from the Ty Willingham era (boo!) and Luke Huard (yay!). What do you think about that?
Au contraire mon ami. It is exactly right.
There isn't much point in previewing the offense and defense versus the opponent here. The Huskies have decided athletic and coaching advantages in every phase of the game. That isn't to say that Georgia State is completely helpless - that is a mistake that nobody should allow themselves to make - it just means that the Huskies have just about every edge one team could hope for against another FBS foe.
The point of this game is to continue with the installation of the Chris Petersen system as a final tune up leading into Pac 12 play and next week's home affair with Stanford. Look for the Huskies to complete the installation of their playbook but to stick to base principles. The key here is execution and making sure that the players are able to execute fast without overthinking and with high levels of precision on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, I think we'll see more attempts to get Cyler Miles into a passing game rhythm with short and intermediate routes. They know that they can get deep with John Ross, but they need to find ways to get both Kasen Williams and Darrell Daniels more plays if for no other reason than to give Stanford more to worry about. In addition, if the coaches have any thoughts of moving away from the Atoe experiment at RG, this is the week to get it done.
It will be more of the same on defense. The name of the game over there is just consistency of technique. It's been fortuitous that the Huskies have had the chance to face three passing teams in a row and to give that young secondary a trial by fire. Look for Pete Kwiatkowski to tighten up his rotations in the back seven (at least until garbage time) while he continues to explore the right mixes and rotations for his d-ends.
All in all, I think that the Huskies are going to generate some more turnovers and easy scores early in the game to give themselves a pretty healthy cushion. I also expect that Georgia State will frustrate us all with a few big plays of their own, but not enough to get back in the game once UW has staked its big lead. UW 55, G-State 17
Attendance below 50,000. A nice quasi-bye before the season starts with Stanford. Think of it as an open practice. The weather will be nice. By the way, has anybody else noticed that the cheerleaders are stepping it up a notch? I'll never forget listening to Hugh Millen after one of those brutal mid-2000s losses to Oregon. I paraphrase: "Oregon did everything better. They ran better, they passed better, they tackled better, they covered better. Their cheerleaders were hotter." Well, he was right then, but I think this is one area where the Dawgs are making serious strides. Hip-shaking, mini-skirt-wearing strides. We're not all the way there yet, don't get me wrong. But I think the cheerleaders might be a ten- or possibly eleven-win team this year. I really think they should consider two squads. Blondes with the home purple tops, and brunettes with the away whites -- some contrast is needed here.
Brad Johnson UW:
Call it a hunch, but I like the Dawgs in this one.