Husky Haul Crystal Ball: Eastern Washington


The Husky Haul staff decided to put together our predictions for the game this Saturday versus Eastern Washington. Each writer offers their perspective below. 

Carl Munson: 

Husky fans who think Washington will roll over Eastern are in for a disappointment.

Eastern will bring everything they can.  They will play with above-average intensity and pride.  They believe they can beat Washington.  Think Appalachian State 34 – Michigan 32.

An upset is unlikely, however.  Eastern has some good athletes but Washington has more and has decent depth at every position, especially wide receiver.  Certain players, e.g., Colin Tanigawa and Hau’oli Jamora, are unable to play at any speed other than full regardless of the opponent.  Washington will be challenged but toward the end of the second quarter, Washington’s overall physical superiority should begin to take its toll.

Washington fans might be concerned about certain untested positions such as quarterback and linebacker.  Quarterback Keith Price has a unique intangible that was, ironically, probably best exemplified by Joe Montana back in the day.  Price’s performances in high school and during his limited time at Washington indicate that he “makes plays,“ he finds a way to get it done.  Between Washington’s talent and depth at receiver, and Price’s ability to make plays, Washington’s passing game should be effective.

When both Princeton Fuimaono and John Timu were placed at weakside linebacker, I wrote that arrangement wouldn’t last, and it didn’t.  Washington coaches decided they wanted both players on the field, Timu was moved to the strongside position and, although Garret Gilliland is a great player, cat-quick Timu wilI start against Eastern.  I wrote a subsequent article about Timu and Fuimaono, Eye of the Tiger, implying Washington has preternatural quickness and intensity bookending Cort Dennison in the middle.  Both Fuimaono and Timu possess an extraordinary run-and-hit dynamic which should become evident in the Eastern game.

Ultimately, games are won at the line-of-scrimmage.  Washington’s line-of-scrimmage is superior to Eastern’s on both sides of the ball.  I particularly like Washington’s defensive line (finally).  Defensive lines are the great insurance policy and, if formidable, can make all other players look better than they are.  Again, Eastern will bring all they can but as the game progresses, Washington’s line play should prove superior.

Final comment: Washington has good depth at the skilled positions.  For example, if Chris Polk doesn’t play, there’s a good chance that Bishop Sankey will.  If Sankey does, at game’s end Washington fans should feel better about Washington’s future running game after Polk.

Final score: UW 35 – EWU 13

Jeff “HuskyLenz” Taylor: 

I do not believe that there is a significant chance of an upset by Eastern Washington over the University of Washington. It isn’t that Eastern Washington is not a talented team incapable of challenging the Huskies. I just do not believe that this is a case where a highly rated team is completely overlooking its opponent.

This is the first game of the season. These kids have been practicing for months getting ready for this opener. All they want to do is go out and hit someone. All they want to do is go out and make plays. Keith Price has an incentive to make his mark as the new leader of this team with a solid performance. Jesse Callier has an incentive to take advantage of the brief window of opportunity with Chris Polk recovering from surgery to have a big game on the ground. The much-maligned secondary wants to make a statement against a good passing team that they have improved dramatically over last year. In fact, most of the defense really can’t wait to smack someone to the ground.

But, it goes beyond the players. Steve Sarkisian isn’t overlooking Eastern. He knows what they are capable of. When he scheduled them, he knew they were a good FCS team that would give the Huskies the kind of challenge the team needed to get ready for the season, without it being another LSU, Oklahoma, Nebraska-style non-conference game.

Steve Sarkisian will motivate and challenge his team to play this game right. To run the plays properly, to score points, to stop EWU’s offense. Steve Sarkisian will dictate what happens and will base future playing time on how well they execute against the Eagles.

So, no I do not believe Eastern is a pushover worth looking past. But, I can not see an upset in the making here when the team looks at it’s opponent with respect and plays the game right.

Final Score: UW 42 – EWU 27

Mark Knight: 

This is a “Win-Win” game for Eastern Washington. If they lose, well, they were expected to lose. If they win, wow what an upset! They can come in and just go for it and leave with their heads held high. UW on the other hand, needs to not only beat EWU but they need to beat them with authority, with a least a 2 touchdown margin. If they aren’t able to do that many will base the UW season as a “worry-some” season.

Sure, not having a completely healthy Chris Polk can help explain it, or playing the CHAMPIONS of the FCS, but these excuses only go so far when you are playing a school that isn’t even in the same category of talent, depth, or development. UW is aware of this mindset and Coach Steve Sarkisian isn’t even thinking about next week. He is preparing his team for battle- this week.

He said in the press conference that his team is ready to hit someone besides their own teammates. They are hungry and they are excited. This doesn’t sound like a team that just wants to walk through EWU but a team that is hungry to kill and destroy. If they were playing EWU say 3 or 4 games into the season when the team was tired and they had a matchup with USC or Oregon the following week, EWU would have a legitmate chance at the upset. However, they are not and UW is ready and eager to not only play football but to win.

Final Score: UW 40 – EWU 24