Down in the bayou
The Washington Huskies got an important week 1 victory over the San Diego Aztecs to start the year off on a good note. Their week 2 opponent, though, is going to give them a lot more trouble than they faced last week.
The Huskies are heading to the bayou of Louisiana to take on the #3 ranked LSU Tigers.
While the Huskies had a poor showing for their high expectations, they are looking to step it up a few notches this week to compete with their SEC powerhouse opponent.
Matchup Washington at Louisiana State
Venue: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Game Time, TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Date: Saturday, September 8, 2012
Team Records: UW (1-0) LSU (1-0)
Standings: UW Tied-1st Pac-12 North, LSU Tied-1st SEC West
While the Huskies had a disappointing scoring output in week 1, the defense looked improved from last season despite giving up 199 yards rushing in the game. In fact, the 2 SDSU touchdowns allowed shouldn’t have been touchdowns at all.
The Dawgs lost 4 more players to injury in their battle with the Aztecs, losing RB Jesse Callier for the season, WR James Johnson indefinitely with a wrist injury, DE Hau’oli Jamora with a knee injury and offensive lineman Ben Riva 4-6 weeks with a broken forearm.
There’s no doubt this will hurt the team, but they are going to turn to their young players to try and soften the blow.
LSU is coming off a complete drubbing of North Texas in their week 1 matchup. They’ll be extra hungry this week, too, as they lost their #1 ranking and dropped to #3 in the country. LSU has come out on top in the only 2 meetings between these squads, most recently in 2009.
What to watch: LSU
LSU is starting a new quarterback this season, Zach Mettenberger. He was 19/26 for 192 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception in his debut. Their running game was strong, though, which will undoubtedly be a big test for the Huskies.
The Tigers lost a big name in the preseason after CB Tyrann Mathieu was kicked off the team. This is a big blow to the Tigers secondary, who coincidentally gave up a huge touchdown to their week 1 opponents.
What to watch: Washington
As previously mentioned, the Huskies lost 4 players to injury in week 1. It took a big toll on the offense as Ben Riva was already filling in for injured starters and Jesse Callier was teaming with Bishop Sankey to try and replace the lost offense of the departed Chris Polk. Sankey will now have to shoulder the load.
This is a big test for the Dawgs who come in as 23 point underdogs. While nobody expects the Huskies to succeed, a decent showing will help boost the Huskies’ profile around the country…especially being an ESPN game.
UW offense vs. LSU defense
Washington’s offense came up flat last week compared to the high expectations they entered the game with. This week, Keith Price will have to work harder with the loss of Callier and against a staunch Tiger defense. The UW QB will have to rely on Kasen Williams, Kevin Smith, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Michael Hartvigson to help him out by getting open and holding onto the ball.
He will also need his freshmen to get in the open, and will probably rely more heavily on Jaydon Mickens and possibly Kendyl Taylor this week if Williams and ASJ are covered.
A potentially good sign for the Huskies is the fact that LSU gave up an 80 yard touchdown pass to North Texas, which would fall right into place with Keith Price’s big play ability. The Tiger defense only gave up 219 total yards of offense, so the Huskies will need to really come up big in this one.
The LSU defense came up with 1 interception in week 1 and wasn’t able to get to the QB. They did, however, register 6 tackles for loss.
UW defense vs. LSU offense
The Husky defense officially gave up 2 touchdowns last week. I say unofficially because the rushing touchdown SDSU scored, the ball did not cross the goal line…the player’s head did and nothing else. And while the defense blew the assignment on the passing touchdown BIG TIME, Steve Sarkisian was clearly calling for a timeout after he notice the blown recognition with multiple seconds before the ball was snapped.
With all that being said, the Huskies pass defense seems to be a lot better this season. The moving around of players from safety to linebacker proved to be a good move.
In the secondary, freshman Shaq Thompson had a great showing in his debut game as a Husky and has the speed and athleticism to make an impact versus a juggernaut opponent like LSU.
Tre Watson, who stole the starting job from Greg Ducre also looked good and will try and capitalize on a good week 1 with an even better week 2.
The LSU running game will give the Huskies fits in this game. Washington gave up those 199 big yards on the ground to San Diego State and LSU put up 264 combined rushing yards in their first game.
With the issues the Huskies are having on the line, look for LSU to run the ball hard and most of the game.
UW vs. LSU Predictions and Analysis
LSU is a 23 point favorite in this one, and rightfully so. Their strong running game versus a poor Washington running defense will make this game extremely difficult for the Huskies to stay competitive in.
If they can find a way to stop the run and put up some big plays of their own, the Huskies will have a chance.
I don’t see that happening, though.
I can’t be a homer in this one.