EWURanger, a moderator of the Eastern Washington fan forum The Red Zone, was kind enough to answer some questions:
1. Did you see the UW opener against Hawaii? If so, what impressions do you have about the Huskies, and if not, what have you heard about them?
I didn't, unfortunately.
2. The last time these two teams played the Eagles took the Huskies right down to the wire, but the Husky program has a lot more talent and depth than it did back in 2011. How does the 2014 Eastern roster compare to the one in 2011?
I think the overall talent level is fairly comparable, although the team is completely different at this point. You can draw some comparisons at QB and WR; both positions that EWU is traditionally very strong at. In 2011, we had a dynamic QB in Bo Levi Mitchell, who was in his second year running the EWU offense after having transferred in from SMU in the Spring of 2009 and winning a National Championship at the Division I FCS level in 2010. Mitchell probably had a little bigger and may have been able to make some of the more difficult throws in our offense, but Adams adds a different dynamic with his tremendous athleticism. We had three big receivers in 2011 who were all 6'3 - 6'5 in height that I can remember giving UW some problems. Those guys are all gone, but their replacements might all be equally as good. Kupp, Mitchell, Bourne, Hill, and a few of the younger guys make up what I believe to be the best receiving corps at our level.
3. Quarterback Vernon Adams and receiver Cooper Kupp are guys that get a lot of attention, but who are the other EWU players that Husky fans should keep an eye on?
On offense, RB Quincy Forte (if he plays), WR's Shaquille Hill, Cory Mitchell, and Blair Bomber. On defense, LB's Ronnie Hamlin and Cody McCarthy, and Safety Tevin McDonald. McDonald having transferred in prior to last season after starting a couple of years at UCLA.
4. What are EWU's strengths on either side of the ball, and where might they have an advantage over the Huskies?
On offense, it's our QB and receiving corps. I don't know how much of an advantage is there after only a couple games, but it will be an interesting matchup there between EWU receivers and UW's somewhat young secondary. On defense, our biggest strength is probably the LB's. There's probably more depth there than along the defensive line and secondary. Again, difficult to assess after having only played a couple of games, though.
5. What are your expectations for Eastern this year?
I expect that Eastern wins another Big Sky title this year, as well as reaching at least the quarter-finals of the FCS playoffs after back to back semi-final appearances in 2012 and 2013, and of course winning a championship in 2010. Another run at a National Championship is not out of the question.
6. Do you have a prediction for this game?
I'm obviously hoping that all the stars will align for us. Going with the homer pick, EWU 38, UW 35.