I'm not sure which wise man it was that said "1-1 is better than 0-2", but there's no disputing the truth in that statement. Whatever you may think of playing FCS teams, the UW was able to roll over the Hornets last weekend and get their first notch in the win column. Now comes a stiffer test, but one that the Huskies should pass if they're going to have a halfway decent season in 2015. Here's how the folks at the UWDP see it:
As much as some may want to downplay Utah State, they are a solid program. Revived by Gary Andersen (now at Oregon State by way of Wisconsin) and maintained by Aggie alum and Andersen staffer Matt Wells, they are a physically well-developed roster and have had enough success in recent years that they are not intimidated going into a Power-5 conference stadium to play.
We know they will be very aggressive on defense - that's what they do. It will be a significant challenge for the Husky OL and Jake Browning will get a trial by fire in reading and exploiting blitzes of all types. I expect he'll make some mistakes and the OL will give up some easy sacks, and there will be some moments of real angst among Husky fans. But I also expect Browning to show enough poise and savvy to make them pay for some of those blitzes and expose the Aggie secondary. He'll also need to show he can step up into the pocket and burn Utah State with his feet when they come after him, and the Husky run game needs to build on the confidence they gained last week.
On defense I think our depth in the front 7 will enable them to wear down Utah State and allow them to chase down a beat-up and gimpy Chuckie Keeton. While the scoreless streak likely ends, I don't see the Aggies putting up a lot of points either. Let's call it UW 27, Utah State 17
Utah State gives Washington's still limited offense much in the way Boise State's did (stuffing the run, forcing only short passes) early in the game and Chuckie Keeton frustrates the Husky defense by escaping the pocket early on and keeps it a low-scoring game heading into the second half. The Aggies come out strong in the second half as well, but the Huskies are able to find some cracks in the Utah State defense and get some scores and wear down an already banged up Keeton. The Huskies pull away to a slightly comfortable margin in the fourth grinding it out at home against a team coming off a slugfest the week before at Utah. Washington 20 Utah State 13
Utah State comes to town lead by 5th senior starting QB Chuckie Keeton, who brings a true warrior mentality with him. He'll certainley need to be a fighter on Saturday because he took some hits against Utah last week and UW's defense will look to exploit that. He's not the most accurate passer and has seemed a shadow of his former self (just based on stats and W/L record) since his 2013 injury. Though, the returns from suspension of a starter on the offensive line and the team's best reciever, Hunter Sharp, will add life to the offense and give Keeton more to work with. Sharp especially - he'll be CB Sidney Jone's biggest test of the season so far. Other than a few plays from Sharp and some Keeton scrambles, I think the Husky defense doesn't have trouble on Saturday stopping the Aggie attack. The match up that will win or lose this game is the UW Offense against the USU Defense. Albiet against lesser competition, the Washington Offense took a huge step forward last week. Can they build on that and take another step forward? Utah State's defense is aggresive, big, and physical and will test the UW offensive line early and often. They will cause UW some problems, and it will be interesting to see how Jake Browning adjusts. However, the talent gap is still too wide, so here it is: Offense looks average, defense and special teams continue to look great. Huskies come out on top 27-10.
Utah State has done well under head coach Mike Wells including 19 wins (two bowl victories) since he took over in 2013. They are 1-1 on the season and coming off a 24-14 setback to Utah last week. Utah State has a solid defensive unit, meaning the Huskies likely won't put up another 49 points like they did against Sacramento State last week. Still, the Huskies should be able to do enough to gain a second home win in as many weeks. Jake Browning and the Washington offense began to click last week and should be able to guide the Dawgs to a 27-13 win in this one.
Chuckie Keeton was (or maybe is) a Heisman candidate...or at least Utah State is backing a campaign for the senior QB. Keeton was pretty good against the Utah defense in a 24-14 loss. The young Husky defense could have their hands full with Keeton as he was the leading rusher against the Utes as well as threw for 256 yards and 2 TDs. Still, you have to think the Huskies have enough to get past the Aggies. It will be interesting to see how Gaskin, McClatcher and Browning do this week. Huskies 28 Utah State 20.