The problems of the Auburn game should be a distant memory against a smaller, slower, less physical opponent. UND is still relatively new to Division 1 and they simply don’t have the athletes to hold up against a major program. Coach Petersen has shown a disinclination toward running up the score, but there should be some long and early touchdowns that put it out of reach early. I’ll give the Fighting Hawks a garbage time TD, but this game will be over by the second quarter.
Bonus predictions- the Huskies will have two 100 yard rushers. At least eight different players will catch a pass for UW. The Huskies will force multiple fumbles. Henry will miss another kick.
Washington-52, North Dakota- 10
I am personally not a huge fan of FCS games and don’t think we can read much into the play of the team or individual players given how outmatched North Dakota is. However, we might get a clearer picture of the preferred rotation on defense and see what freshmen could play.
I sense there’s still a lot left in the playbook they didn’t show against Auburn, that we won’t see this week as the coaches plan ahead for Utah. Expect another modest day on the ground as they try to keep the running backs fresh and not reveal too much of the their plans for Salvon Ahmed (I have to think he’ll average more than 7 touches a game moving forward, which is what he got vs. Auburn).
As to what might happen: Washington won’t turn the ball over, and will generate their first turnovers of the season, with a force fumble and two picks, one of which gets taken to the house. Ty Jones will catch his first TD as a Husky, and Aaron Fuller will catch his first of the season.
Washington- 49, North Dakota- 7
If there’s one thing I can say with certainty it’s that the Huskies are pissed that they didn’t end up with the win against Auburn. And on the receiving end of that boiling aggression will be the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. Since Jake Browning had the deep passing game working against Auburn I expect the offensive focus will be to get the duo of Gaskin and Ahmed rolling. I see a combined 30 carries for them in the first 2.5 quarters before the game gets out of hand and we see Kamari Pleasant and Sean McGrew take over.
Washington- 56, North Dakota- 6
Hot take: Washington wins. The one TD given up will be in that sweet sweet #GarbageTime.
Washington- 49, North Dakota- 13
After traveling cross country to play in a physically and emotionally taxing game against the Auburn Tigers, a soft landing at Husky Stadium against an FCS program that went 3–8 in 2017 sounds like a pretty fantastic reprieve.
Like any game between a national title contender and an FCS program, the outcome of this game should never be in doubt. Rather than the final score or statistical performances, Washington’s coaches and fans should pay attention to a number of fundamentals that were decisive in costing them a chance to win in Atlanta. In particular, Saturday’s game should give Bush Hamdan extensive opportunities to test and perfect his red zone offense in a live-fire scenario.
With luck, the Huskies will emerge from Saturday’s game with a comfortable victory, a healthy roster, and a better sense of how they can take advantage of scoring opportunities in the games ahead. Without all three of goals accomplished, it’ll be difficult to call this weekend a win, no matter what the scoreboard reads.
Washington- 49, North Dakota- 13
Washington- 5 votes, North Dakota- 0 votes
Average Final Score: Washington- 51.2 to North Dakota- 9.8