The No. 8 ( Associated Press)/No7 ( USA Today) ranked Washington Huskies will open their 2017 season Friday Sept1, at Rutgers University with a scheduled kickoff time of 8:00 p.m. Pacific time. The game will be televised on For Sports 1 television and the Nationally televised platform will give the Huskies an opportunity to leave a favorable impression on pollsters.
Fridays matchup between the Huskies and the Scarlet Knights is the second of a home and home opening series between the schools. The Huskies hosted the Scarlet Knights and cruised to an impressive 48 to 13. Husky quarterback Jake Browning had a big game passing for 287 and three touchdowns while John Ross and Dante Pettis each provided special teams touchdowns. Ross had a 92 yard kickoff return and Pettis returned a punt for 68 yards.
While Ross has moved on, Pettis and Browning return along with starting tailback Myles Gaskin who rushed for 1,373 yards and 10 touchdowns on his way to earning 1st-team All Pac-12 honors in 2016. The Huskies have a solid offensive line that is led by First Team All-Pac 12 and second team All- American (FWAA) Junior left tackle Trey Adams. Senior Center Coleman Shelton earned Second team All- Pac 12.
The Huskies talented and experienced offense should have its way against the Scarlet Knights defense that is led by Junior linebacker Trevor Morris who led the team in tackles with 102. Cornerback Blessuan Austin was an All-Big Ten honorable mention.
The Husky defense finished first in the Pac-12 in scoring defense, allowing just 248 points, or 17.7 per game, the best average by the UW since 1992 (12.3 per game). The Dawgs also led the conference in total defense (316.9 yards per game), passing defense (182.9), opponent first downs (246), third-down conversion defense (.306) and turnovers gained (33).
While the Huskies lost three defensive backs to the NFL , Sidney Jones, Kevin King and Budda Baker, their defense is projected to be just as good if not better. The Huskies return six defensive starters and will be led by Defensive lineman Vita Vea a Preseason AP All-American 2nd team.
The 6-5 junior played in all 14 games last year and was 2nd-team All-Pac-12 and Academic All-Pac-12. Senior Linebacker Keshawn Bierria played all 14 games in 2016 and was named second-team All-Pac12. AP preseason All- American first team linebacker is suspended for the game after violating teams rules.