UW Game Day
Huskies (1-0) vs. Eastern Washington (2-0)
Noon today at Husky Stadium
TV: Pac-12 Networks. Radio: KOMO AM-1000, FM-97.7.
Latest line: No line.
Miles better? The Huskies were shut out in the second half of their opener at Hawaii last week to eke out a 17-16 victory. Jeff Lindquist was productive early in his starting debut for UW, but UW coaches didn’t waste any time in deciding Sunday that sophomore Cyler Miles would start at quarterback this week. Miles, who did not make the trip to Hawaii while serving a one-game suspension, is still learning UW’s new offense, and UW’s new coaches are still learning about what he can do. “I do feel a strong competitive nature from him,” UW coach Chris Petersen said. “I think he likes to play. I think he likes to compete. I get a good feel there. But it’s all fun and games at the driving range, as we say.”
Fancy passing: Redshirt freshman Jermaine Kelly is the Byron Maxwell of the UW secondary. Kelly was tested time and again in his UW debut against Hawaii, and he’s expected to see much of the same going forward with UW veteran cornerback Marcus Peters on the other side of the field. EWU’s Vernon Adams Jr. is second in the FCS with 672 yards passing in two games, and the Eagles’ four- and five-receiver spread attack will challenge the Huskies’ young secondary. UW true freshmen corners Naijiel Hale, Darren Gardenhire and Sidney Jones could see significant action vs. EWU, too.
Three keys for UW:
1. Run the ball. Redshirt freshman Lavon Coleman had a nice debut for the Huskies at Hawaii, rushing for 78 yards on 17 carries — both team highs — and might have earned the starting nod against Eastern Washington with his six straight tough runs to finish off the Rainbow Warriors. Much of the criticism of the UW offense this past week focused on the quarterback play, and that’s not entirely off-base, but the run game must be better: 3.6 yards per carry is no recipe for success, and the Huskies ought to be able to almost double that against an EWU defense that ranked about averaged in the FCS last season.
2. Turnovers: It’s an obvious one in every game, but it’s also been a point of emphasis for UW’s defense throughout the spring and into fall camp. For as well as the UW defense played after the first quarter last week, the Huskies didn’t force any against Hawaii. That, too, has to change against EWU.
3. Special teams: We saw John Ross’ game-changing ability on offense next week. The hunch here is he’ll do the same on a kickoff return today. The Huskies, meanwhile, must figure out their punt-return rotation. Jaydon Mickens was a nonfactor in that role last week, but to be fair, Petersen said Hawaii’s 28-year-old punter, Scott Harding (a former rugby star in Australia), was probably the toughest punter he’s seen. Mickens said this week that he wants to be an elite punt returner, and he’ll likely get the first return today. Marvin Hall and freshman Dante Pettis could be given opportunities, too.
Didn’t have a chance to post these last week, but staff photographer Dean Rutz captured the Husky Marching Band practicing on the beach in Waikiki before the season opener. Cool stuff.
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- Our game preview story from Percy Allen focuses on UW’s narrow victory over EWU in 2011. Senior receiver Kasen Williams played in that game and acknowledged that the Huskies overlooked the Eagles back then. “Regardless if Eastern goes to the national championship in their division, this is their biggest game,” Williams said. “This is the game they circle on their calendar … and they’re going to give it their 100 percent. So if they’re going to take it as their biggest game, we have to take it as our biggest game, too.”
- Christian Caple likes UW to win 35-24. (He also likes being The World’s Loudest Typer.)
- From The UW Daily’s Thuc Nhi Nguyen: What to watch for when the Huskies have the ball.
- From The AP’s Tim Booth: Chris Petersen‘s debut could hardly have been more of a dud.
- From the Spokesman-Review’s Jim Allen: Well, this is new — EWU brings a ground game into Husky Stadium.
UW commit Jake Browning, in the first game of his senior season at Folsom High, last week became California’s all-time passing leader. Friday night, he accounted for another seven touchdowns (ho-hum) to pass Jimmy Clausen as the state’s all-time leader in touchdown passes (with 151 in two-plus seasons … and counting).
Jake Browning had 7 TD passes last week to beat powerhouse San Diego team.He has 7 now vs. Central Section heavy Clovis North for 49-0 lead
— Joe Davidson (@SacBee_JoeD) September 6, 2014
Washington head coach Chris Petersen and receivers coach Brent Pease here at Eastside Catholic-Alemany…
— Brandon Huffman (@BrandonHuffman) September 6, 2014
Is now the time to mention WSU recruited a scholarship kicker but he flipped to UW?
— Jeff Nusser (@NussCoug) September 6, 2014