PREVIEW: Oregon State Beavers at Washington Huskies

by Kevin Nesgoda


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Huskies finally set for opener, Lake’s debut as head coach

Washington had its 2020 season opener scrapped last week by COVID-19 issues swirling its scheduled opponent, the California Golden Bears. But despite some recent chatter regarding the same type of concerns with Oregon State’s program, this matchup looks like it will get the green light.

Jimmy Lake will make his debut as head coach for the Huskies tonight at 8:00 pm when Washington welcomes the Beavers (0-1) to Husky Stadium. The game will be televised on FS1 and can be heard on KJR 950-AM/KJAQ 96.5 FM and the Washington Sports Network.

The Huskies will take the field for their first contest in 329 days – their most recent outing was the Las Vegas Bowl vs Boise State on Dec. 21, 2019. Lake takes over for Chris Petersen after two years as defensive backs coach, two as co-defensive coordinator, and the last two years as defensive coordinator for the Huskies.

Tonight’s game marks the 105th meeting between the two programs, with Washington holding a 66-34-4 advantage in the series. Recently, the series has been dominated by the Huskies, who have won eight straight meetings, and 24 of the last 32. Last year, Salvon Ahmed ran for a pair of scores and Peyton Henry booted two field goals lifting the Huskies to a 16-7 win.

Washington is 88-36-6 all-time in season openers, and holds a 95-28-5 record in home openers, which includes 10 straight wins. The last loss in a home opener was back in 2009, when the Huskies lost to 11th-ranked LSU.

This year’s UW team will look quite different from a year ago, returning just two offensive starters and five on defense. The Huskies have 13 offensive players on the roster with at least one start, and 11 on defense with a start under their belt. A total of seven Huskies were named to the Preseason All-Pac-12 Team, with senior Elijah Molden and junior Jaxson Kirkland chosen for the 1st Team. Henry, along with Cade Otton and Ryan Bowman, were 2nd Team choices, while Luke Wattenberg and Trent McDuffie received honorable mention.

The big question surrounding this Washington team is a big one … “Who’s the starting quarterback?” Lake has made it clear the starter will not be announced until gametime, with a total of four players in the mix. Jacob Sirmon, Kevin Thomson, Dylan Morris, and Ethan Garbers are among those being considered. Of the four, only Sirmon has game experience. The sophomore from Bethell attempted just three passes in 2019, completing two.

Oregon State fell behind early at home during last week’s 38-28 loss to Washington State, and could never recover despite a big day from junior Jermar Jefferson, who ran for 120 yards and three scores to go with 50 yards on five receptions. Tristan Gebbia passed for 329 yards and Trevon Bradford led the team with seven catches and 79 yards. The Beaver defense was chewed up by Washington State and its true freshman quarterback, Jayden de Laura. The Cougars rushed for 229 yards and averaged 7.6 yards per carry, and passed for 227, averaging 7.2 yards per play.


Prediction

With the Huskies settling in a new quarterback, facing Oregon State’s defense looks to be the best time to do so. Washington sputters early, but – thanks to the defense – finds a groove and puts away the Beavers in the second half.

Washington 34, Oregon State 16

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