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The Prediction: Fresno State Bulldogs vs. Washington Huskies Football

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Montana v Washington Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Sitting at 2-0 with comfortable wins over Rutgers and Montana, the Washington Huskies are right where we expected them to be at this point in the season. That course doesn’t figure to change tomorrow, when the Dawgs take on a Fresno State Bulldogs team that has lost 23 of its last 28 contests. Despite featuring a new head coach in Jeff Tedford who spent 2016 as an offensive consultant on Montlake, the Huskies are favored by 33 points in tomorrow’s contest. Do any of the UW Dawg Pound writers think that a closer game is in store?

Ryan Priest

The non-conference schedule of our discontent is about to wrap, and not a moment too soon. With all due respect to Rutgers and Montana, it’s been slightly over nine months since we’ve seen Washington play a compelling 60-minute football game, and the best thing I can say about this week’s game against Fresno State is that it brings us one step closer to conference play.

To be fair, the Bulldogs are much improved statistically this year under new head coach Jeff Tedford compared to their 2016 campaign (38.0 points per game versus 17.7; 20.5 points allowed versus 30.9). However, that’s complicated by the small two-game sample size and the fact that those games were 1) A blowout win over FCS Incarnate Word; and 2) A blowout loss against Alabama. The fact remains that the Bulldogs are the same program that scored 65 fewer points than any other Mountain West team in 2016, while losing to every FBS competitor since beating Hawai’i on Nov. 14, 2015.

Against the No. 6 Huskies, Fresno State will likely find no respite. If the Huskies jump out to a big lead early, I expect the starters will remain in the game longer than they would in many other situations — not because I think Chris Petersen wants to run up the score against his old friend Jeff Tedford, but because this game amounts to Washington’s last dress rehearsal before flying to Boulder to take on the defending Pac-12 South champs in the Colorado Buffaloes. For that reason alone, I’m taking the Dawgs on the over. Washington 59, Fresno State 13.

John Sayler

This is the week Jake Browning comes out and plays like the Browning of early 2016. I know he has had nice numbers so far, but he hasn't been trusting his pre-snap reads. Browning is at his best when he sees what the defense is doing, hits that back foot and lets it fly.

He misses John Ross, that is pretty clear. But it's time to trust the wideouts that actually still play for the Huskies. He won't be able to hold the ball and dance around the pocket against better teams, so this is the final tuneup for this timing-based offense.

Defensively, the Dawgs will have their hair on fire. Look for domination from the opening snap. I figure at least four turnovers and a slew of sacks, hurries and hits on the QB.

My only question is whether the Huskies will have the running game working from the get-go. Fresno will stack the box to try to stop it, and it may yield frustrating results for UW fans early. Eventually though, it will be rolling as well.

UW 49, Fresno State 0

Max Vrooman

It goes to show you how far the Huskies have come under Chris Petersen that they’re 2-0 with a +72 point differential and fans are worried about how they’ve looked so far. At this point, I think it’s fair to say that teams under Coach Pete are going to start slow. He’s a strong believer in the tortoise winning the race and the focus of non-conference games is going to be putting things on or not on film for opponents, getting young guys playing time to improve depth, and getting reps in targeted areas. Winning the game by a margin to impress the playoff committee is not on his list of goals. Going undefeated gives you a better chance to make the playoff than going 12-1 with a trio of 40-point wins over Rutgers, Montana, and Fresno State.

Washington is a 33-point favorite in this one and given what I’ve said above plus other contextual factors, I don’t think they cover. Fresno held their own for a while against Alabama and if the Tide were interested in running out the clock that final margin could’ve been just 24 points. I don’t think the Jeff Tedford connection is really going to make a difference but I’ll take an extra field goal off UW’s total just in case it stops one big play. I expect this game to look similar to Rutgers just with more success on offense from the beginning. At some point UW will get a special teams or defensive touchdown and it will break the game open. But Fresno State will be lingering close to half time.

Washington- 37, Fresno State- 13

Jeff Gorman

The final tune up before conference play begins and the season really revs up. Jeff Tedford rolls into Husky Stadium as the first year head coach of Fresno State, fresh off a 41-10 loss at Alabama. Is there a tougher two game stretch for any team in the country than @Alabama then @Washington? Fresno State went 1-11 last season but performed admirably against Alabama and fans of the program are praising the toughness Tedford has already instilled in his squad.

Despite Tedford's small bit of insider knowledge on UW from his time spent as a consultant last year, this is a tall task for the Bulldogs if they want to come away with a win. The Washington offense, while while not quite fully humming, should be able to overpower the Fresno defense. From the last two weeks, it seems like the coaches are keeping Gaskin and Coleman fresh, and trying to integrate Salon Ahmed more into the offense before conference play. I expect this to continue on Saturday. Jake will do his thing and spread the ball around against an over matched foe.

On offense, the Bulldogs like to throw the ball a lot and run high tempo. They have some good WRs, starting with KeeSean Johnson. He already has 15 receptions in two games and is a real weapon for them. The Husky secondary has so far alleviated any fears of a massive decline in production, and this will be another early season test for them. There's only one returning starter on the OL and the Husky DL should keep them in check.

Huskies win 42-13.

Poll

What result do you expect from the Fresno State vs. Washington game?

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    Washington wins in a blowout
    (918 votes)
  • 8%
    Washington wins a close one
    (85 votes)
  • 2%
    Fresno State wins a close one
    (25 votes)
  • 3%
    Fresno State wins in a blowout
    (32 votes)
1060 votes total Vote Now