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SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION – WASHINGTON

Note … Previews for CU’s opponents will be posted each week leading up to the start of Fall Camp … Previously posted: Colorado StateNebraskaAir ForceArizona StateArizonaOregonWashington StateUSCUCLAStanford

2019 Game Eleven – Colorado v. Washington, November 23rd

Related … “Washington Huskies retool for another run at Pac-12 title” … from the Daily Camera

From the Daily Camera … During his five seasons as head coach of the Washington football team, Chris Petersen has turned the Huskies into the class of the Pac-12 and one of the elite programs in the country.

Entering his sixth season in Seattle, however, Petersen’s got a challenge in front him to retool his team. The defending Pac-12 champions lost their all-time leading passer, their all-time leading rusher, eight NFL draft choices and nine starters on defense.

Over the past three years, Washington is 32-9, including a Pac-12-best 22-5 in conference games. They’ve also got two Pac-12 titles in that stretch. Despite the massive changes in personnel, the Huskies’ expectations haven’t changed. National publications still project Washington to either win the North division or be in contention for the title all year.

Much of the credit goes to Petersen, who had Boise State rolling along for years and has cemented his place among the nation’s top coaches since coming to Washington in 2014.

“We think we have talent and we have good coaches, and that combination is always a great place to start,” Petersen told The Athletic this summer. “But then it’s all about getting these guys to take the next step – skill-wise, knowledge-wise, consistency-wise.”

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Last game between Colorado and Washington – October 20, 2018

… No. 15 Washington 27, Colorado 13 … 

Game Story … Colorado, down a number of starters and playing the back half of a tough road swing, was in the game until the midway point of the fourth quarter, eventually falling to No. 15 Washington, 27-13. The Huskies out-gained the Buffs, 351 yards to 263, in a game controlled by the defenses.

The Huskies were led by quarterback Jake Browning, who went was held to 150 yards passing, but also contributed 25 yards rushing on scrambles. Buff quarterback Steven Montez went 17-for-28 for 144 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, but was harried all afternoon by the Washington defensive line. Travon McMillian led the Buffs in rushing, with 25 carries for 86 yards.

Notably, all of CU’s points were scored by true freshman. With star wide receiver Laviska Shenault out with a toe injury, CU’s touchdown was scored by true freshman wide receiver Daniel Arias, who turned his first career catch into a 37-yard touchdown. The Buff field goals were posted by true freshman kicker Evan Price, who was good from 37 and 26 yards. Price was in for James Stefanou, out with a hip injury.

“I thought our kids played hard,” CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “We had our chances and Washington had their chances. But it all boils down to they converted their fourth downs and we didn’t. That was the meat and potatoes of the game.”

Continue reading story here

… Essay for the game … “Tear Off the Band-Aid and Move On” … can be found here

2018 Washington results – 10-4 (7-2 in Pac-12 play)

– 2018 Washington National Rankings (Offense)

— Scoring – 88th … 26.4 points per game  (Colorado scoring defense – 70th … 27.3 points per game)

— Rushing – 55th … 176.3 yards per game (Colorado rushing defense – 44th … 145.6 yards per game)

— Passing – 61st … 238.4 yards per game   (Colorado passing defense – 74th … 234.7 yards per game)

— Total – 55th … 414.7 yards per game  (Colorado total defense – 52nd … 380.3 yards per game)

– 2018 Washington National Rankings (Defense) …

— Scoring – 5th (1st in the Pac-12) … 16.4 points per game  (Colorado scoring offense – 79th … 27.1 points per game)

— Rushing – 15th (2nd in the Pac-12) … 116.1 yards per game (Colorado rushing offense – 99th (9th in the Pac-12) … 143.0 yards per game)

— Passing – 25th (2nd in the Pac-12) … 190.1 yards per game (Colorado passing offense – 45th … 249.6 yards per game)

— Total – 12th (1st in the Pac-12) … 306.2 yards per game  (Colorado total offense – 74th … 392.6 yards per game)

Washington storylines … 

Players make plays

Quarterback Jake Browning was a four-year starter for the Huskies, and won two Pac-12 championships.

He also lost most of the big games he played in, including bookend losses in 2018, falling to Auburn in the season opener, and to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.

Enter Georgia transfer Jacob Eason, who hasn’t seen serious live action since 2016. Eason, at 6’6″, 228-pounds, has a proto-type body to go with a pro-style arm, and was a top-rated recruit out of high school (and that’s assuming Eason holds off sophomore Jake Haener. The two quarterbacks split first-team reps through spring drills).

Will Eason and/or Haener be an upgrade over Jake Browning? Probably, but for now, it’s TBD.

What will make Eason look good is a dominant offensive line which returns four starters, including All-Pac-12 center Nick Harris, who will be entering his fourth season in the starting lineup. The fifth starter? The newbie? Trey Adams, a 6’8″, 306-pound left tackle, who has 32 games as a starter, and was All-Pac-12 as a sophomore before missing most of the 2018 with a back injury.

With such a strong offensive line, the Huskies can be counted on to run the ball with regularity. Myles Gaskin, Washington’s all-time rushing leader, has taken his talents to the NFL, leaving the door to stardom open for Salvon Ahmed, who ran for 608 yards and seven touchdowns as a backup last fall.

When Eason throws the ball, the Huskies have their three top receivers from last season returning. Senior Aaron Fuller and junior Ty Jones combined for over 1,200 yards and ten touchdowns last season, but the key component may be oft-injured tight end Hunter Bryant, who is All-Pac-12 caliber … but has battled knee problems.

With such a strong offense returning, it might be wondered why anyone could see Oregon (or Stanford, or Washington State) upending the Huskies as the top dog in the Pac-12 North.

Well, perhaps because Washington has two – count ’em, two – returning starters on defense, a defense which ranked in the top 25 nationally in every major defensive statistic, including scoring (5th, at 16.4 points per game).

For those keeping score at home, the two returning starters are senior defensive end Benning Potoa’e and senior safety Myles Bryant.

The defensive line has plenty of young talent, with the main concerns being at inside linebacker and the defensive backfield, which had four starters graduate or head off early to the NFL.

How the Buffs fit into the Huskies’ 2019 schedule

In 2019, there are two bye weeks for each team.

As fate would have it, Colorado and Washington both have a bye week before they meet in Boulder on November 23rd, the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Which team will benefit the most from the bye week? No way of knowing.

Both teams will have ten games under their belt by then, with rivalry games the following weekend (Washington at home against Washington State; Colorado on the road against Utah).

One thing we do know for sure is that the Washington game will represent the final home game for the CU senior Class (and, in all likelihood, wide receiver Laviska Shenault). By November, Steven Montez, if he stays healthy, will own dozens of CU passing records.

It will be an emotional game for the CU seniors, and, who knows, it could be ridiculously cold on November 23rd, like it was for CU’s home finale last year against Utah, slowing down the Washington offense …

… will that be enough?

Bottom Line

The consensus is that Washington should be ranked somewhere in the top 20 in the national rankings. Athlon and Street and Smith’s have the Huskies as the No. 12 team in the nation. Lindy’s and ESPN have Washington in at No. 17, while Phil Steele places the Huskies at No. 16.

Colorado? A consensus No. 6 pick … in the Pac-12 South.

Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, the Buffs have lost every game they have played against the Huskies. The overall losing streak against Washington is up to nine games, dating back to the losses to Rick Neuheisel’s Huskies in 1999 and 2000.

In fact, the last time the Buffs defeated the Huskies was in the 1996 Holiday Bowl, when Rick Neuheisel was the head coach, and Darrin Chiaverini caught a touchdown pass from Koy Detmer.

This just in … that was a while ago.

Chris Petersen has developed a reputation for developing talent, so Buff fans shouldn’t get too excited about the lack of experience on the Huskies’ defense. Washington will bring a strong rushing attack to Boulder, and the defense will have it figured out by November.

The game will be played in Boulder, in November, after a bye week.

All three factors will help the Buffs.

But probably not enough …

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