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Grading the Game: Eastern Washington

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The Huskies finish the game with a GPA they can be proud of.

NCAA Football: Eastern Washington at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s get right to it:

Quarterback - A

It’s pretty hard to give the quarterbacks anything but a resounding A. It wasn’t just Jacob Eason’s numbers that tell the story of a strong debut, as good as they were: 349 yards and 4 TDs, with 9.7 yards per attempt. It was his presence and veteran demeanor that stood out as the junior completed passes to 7 different receivers in all manner of routes and situations, attacking downfield when it was there and checking down when it wasn’t. He didn’t turn the ball over and on at least one occasion showed he’s not as statue-esque as his 6-6 frame might indicate, spinning out of a rush to find Hunter Bryant for 27 yards. He also stood tall in the pocket in the face of blitzes, taking a few shots while delivering the ball.

Jacob Sirmon entered the game late in the fourth quarter and completed a nice 21 yard gain to Terrell Bynum.

Poll

Your Grade:

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    A
    (3073 votes)
  • 38%
    B
    (2229 votes)
  • 6%
    C
    (382 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (23 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (39 votes)
5746 votes total Vote Now

Running Back - B+

I think it’s safe to say that Richard Newton is going to get a lot of carries this season. Coaches praised him all spring and fall camp, but I expected Ahmed, McGrew, and Kamari Pleasant to get a majority of the carries. He showed really good feet, vision, and strength running for 91 yards on just 12 carries. He played some QB in high school and looked really comfortable taking snaps out of the wildcat formation.

Ahmed didn’t have a particularly strong game averaging just 2.9 yards per carry, though I think the coaches are still trying to find his best role, either as a pure RB or more of an all purpose weapon. Sean McGrew showed off his versatility with 4 carries and 2 receptions.

Poll

Your Grade:

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    A
    (3073 votes)
  • 38%
    B
    (2229 votes)
  • 6%
    C
    (382 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (23 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (39 votes)
5746 votes total Vote Now

Wide Receiver - A-

Will Aaron Fuller be able to top his unbelievable one handed catch in the corner of the end zone? Even without it, he had a second impressive TD grab and finished the game averaging over 14 yards a catch with a long of 30. Chico McClatcher is firmly reestablished in the rotation and his quickness had an immediate impact, taking his first catch on a screen up field for a first down. Andre Baccellia has always been decently fast and he showed off his wheels on his 50 yard touchdown bomb from Eason - it’s the exact kind of play you want to see more of from the senior WR. With Ty Jones out long term, it was an encouraging performance from what looks to be the main rotation - Chico McClatcher, Aaron Fuller, and Andre Baccellia.

Terrell Bynum and Puka Nacua made it on the field as well and we can probably expect to see more of them as the season wears on.

Poll

Your Grade:

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    A
    (3073 votes)
  • 38%
    B
    (2229 votes)
  • 6%
    C
    (382 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (23 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (39 votes)
5746 votes total Vote Now

Tight End - A

With the TE thinned out by Jacob Kizer’s injury, Cade Otton and Hunter Bryant were the only players to get significant time at the position. Bryant was targeted constantly and lead all players with 6 catches, and was only 3 yards shy of Baccellia’s team leading 84 yards. Cade Otton did his thing blocking (though Hunter had at least one excellent block I saw sealing the edge leading to a decent gain from Richard Newton) and contributed in the pass game catching a 15 yard pass for a first down.

Poll

Your Grade:

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    A
    (3073 votes)
  • 38%
    B
    (2229 votes)
  • 6%
    C
    (382 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (23 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (39 votes)
5746 votes total Vote Now

Offensive Line - B

In pass protection, you couldn’t ask for much more with Jacob Eason having time and a clean pocket to operate from. The run blocking was good enough, but there’s definite room for improvement there. Jared Hilbers seemed to fit in seamlessly at RT, and other than a few errant snaps from backup center Matteo Mele, he had a solid game.

Poll

Your Grade:

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    A
    (3073 votes)
  • 38%
    B
    (2229 votes)
  • 6%
    C
    (382 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (23 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (39 votes)
5746 votes total Vote Now

Defensive Line - A

Anytime you hold a team to 2.1 yards per carry, that usually means the D-line played great. We saw a lot of three down linemen with Josiah Bronson, Benning Potoa’e, and Levi Onwuzurike making up the front, and they showed good disruptive ability. Benning’s performance was particularly exciting and in his first game on the DL he had two sacks and three TFLs, besting his totals in those categories from all of last year. Levi didn’t record any stats but looked like the 290 pound slippery bar of soap that he is, who is going to be very difficult for opponents to deal with.

Poll

Your Grade:

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    A
    (3073 votes)
  • 38%
    B
    (2229 votes)
  • 6%
    C
    (382 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (23 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (39 votes)
5746 votes total Vote Now

Linebackers - A-

This is a position I will be monitoring closely all season. Brandon Wellington was the closest thing to a known commodity but only finished with two tackles. The big surprise, however was M.J. Tafisi, a LB who plays like he’s been shot out of a cannon. He plays physical and downhill and finished third in tackles on the team, which is impressive since he didn’t start. Kyler Manu looked solid in his first start and had 7 tackles.

On the outside, Ryan Bowman and Joe Tryon got the bulk of snaps, with Bowman ending up with a sack. But it was Laiatu Latu’s performance (two tackles, one TFL) that should get Husky fans excited, looking like a physical play maker on the edges the Huskies have lacked. But, the OLBs totaled just three of the team’s nine TFLs, and I think the coaches would want more production from the position.

Jackson Sirmon’s cowboy collar and goal-line cameo as a fullback pushes this grade from a B to an A-.

Poll

Your Grade:

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    A
    (3073 votes)
  • 38%
    B
    (2229 votes)
  • 6%
    C
    (382 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (23 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (39 votes)
5746 votes total Vote Now

Secondary - B

The Huskies gave up the rare explosive pass play with EWU’s Andrew Boston spinning out of a Keith Taylor and Cam Williams tackle attempt - each could have done better on the play. But, it was an otherwise nice debut for the freshman Williams and a continuation of the physical CB play we’ve come to know from Taylor. They were key in holding the Eagles to 6 yards an attempt and just one touchdown in the air.

Kyler Gordon had two defensive holding penalties but was otherwise very good, and liked to stick his nose in things in run support. Elijah Molden looked incredible playing across the secondary but most especially at nickel back. Myles Bryant slotted in at safety and looked comfortable, leading the team with 8 tackles and a TFL.

In a vacuum, the DBs had a great game, but with the incredibly high bar they’ve set, they get a B for this one.

Poll

Your Grade:

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    A
    (3073 votes)
  • 38%
    B
    (2229 votes)
  • 6%
    C
    (382 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (23 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (39 votes)
5746 votes total Vote Now

Special Teams - A-

Touch backs from Tim Horn! A made field goal from Peyton Henry! Booming punts from Joel Whitford! Coverage units that were not awful! What else can we ask for after the last couple of years?

Poll

Your Grade:

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    A
    (3073 votes)
  • 38%
    B
    (2229 votes)
  • 6%
    C
    (382 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (23 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (39 votes)
5746 votes total Vote Now

Evan Weaver Trash Talk - C+

I give him credit for putting it out there, but there was opportunity for more creativity beyond just “We’ll fly up there and we’ll beat them Saturday.”

BEAT CAL.