As good as Eastern is, there’s no way to ignore the talent advantage UW has here. I spent a lot of time watching the Eags last year since my uncle’s a grad and they’re a great team, but in the end I don’t see a way they make it too close. If this were a Sark-coached (or 2014) Husky team, absolutely. But not now, especially considering the contributors they lost: RB Sam McPherson, WR Nsimba Webster, LB Ketner Kupp, NT Jay-Tee Tiuli, DB Nzuzi Webster, etc. Even with Eric Barriere returning after performing miraculously in the absence of Gage Gubrud, those losses compound the effects of the talent disparity between these two teams.
I certainly think they’ll be able to move the ball at least decently in the way Rutgers did in 2017, when Keith Taylor, Byron Murphy, and Myles Bryant were, despite their skill level, still young and adjusting. But I don’t think I see any more than 17 points being put up, with one of those touchdowns after the game’s put away.
When UW’s on offense, it’ll be interesting to watch the lines and how that affects life after Gaskin; though we’re still wondering about Ahmed’s ceiling as a runner between the tackles, Washington’s offensive line dwarfs Eastern, whose largest DT is 275 lbs. In the passing game, Eastern’s safeties are quite good, but the corners have little experience.
Oh, and one more thing. Like 2016 when we were all anxious over whether this team’s potential would become reality: first deep ball’s a bomb to Chico.
Washington- 42, Eastern Washington- 17
What I hope and what I think are two very different things. I hope the Huskies’ secondary and improved(?) pass rush can shut down Eastern’s passing attack, while the offense scores on nearly every drive against a smaller Big Sky defense. However, I think Eastern’s offense will still manage to put together some drives and score against our youngish defense, while our offense will start slow but ultimately put together enough drives to still win the game by a safe margin. Additionally, I expect our offense to lean heavily on the running game and am not expecting Eason to light up the stat sheet in this one... Although I think he’ll do well.
Washington- 45, Eastern Washington- 17
The Huskies have struggled mightily each of the last two times the Eagles have come to Seattle. Will that matter on this trip? This Husky team is certainly more accomplished and more talented than either of the previous two. Eastern Washington is coming off an FCS title game appearance, but loses seven defensive starters and their #1 QB (although Eric Barriere played significantly due to injury). If you can remove the memory of two games played by entirely different players, we’re still looking at a top 15 team in the country against an FCS team.
Washington- 41, Eastern Washington- 17
Over the past 5 seasons the Eastern Washington Eagles have played one road game each year against power conference opponents. They are 1-4 with margins of -7 (UW), -19 (Oregon), +3 (WSU), -46 (TTU), and -35 (WSU). The average score in those contests was 55 to 35.
I don’t foresee the Eagles coming in and scoring 5 touchdowns against this version of the Husky defense even though it will be the first career start for the majority on that side of the ball. Washington has given up more than 30 points at home only once since EWU came into Husky stadium and scored 52 in Chris Petersen’s first home game with UW. They’ve also only lost once in Seattle since 2016 including a current 14-game winning streak.
Unless Alabama or Clemson come to town I’m going to keep picking the Huskies to win at home until they don’t. The question then becomes how close Eastern Washington can keep things. I don’t expect the Huskies to come out and have the scoreboard read 21-0 at the end of the 1st quarter but the Dawgs will eventually pull away hopefully before halftime.
Washington- 31, Eastern Washington- 13
Washington- 4, Eastern Washington- 0
(There’s no against the spread since there are no spreads for FBS vs. FCS games)
Washington- 39.8, Eastern Washington- 16