- Date: Saturday, September 30th
- Time: TBD
- Location: Reser Stadium (Corvallis, OR)
- TV Coverage: TBD
Who were one of college football’s biggest surprises and feel good stories, the Washington Huskies have retaken control of the Pac 12, heading into what I would appropriately deem a golden age. Led by superstar quarterback Jake Browning, the Huskies paved their way to a 12-2 record, (8-1 in conference), earning their first ever birth into the College Football Playoff. Browning threw for 3430 yards, completing 62.1 percent of his passes, with 43 touchdowns to nine interceptions.
However, he will be without his go to wideout in John Ross, a lethal catalyst and force offensively. Ross posted 1500 yards on 81 receptions in 2016, finding the end zone 17 times, while averaging 14.2 yards per catch. Nevertheless, the question remains whether or not there Browning’s numbers will take a hit, per the departure of Ross. However, the Huskies suffered most on defense, particularly in the secondary, losing cornerbacks Kevin King and Sidney Jones, safety Budda Baker, as well as defensive tackle Elijah Qualls to the NFL.
While on their quest to the playoff, the Huskies were stunned at home, losing to a 10 - 3 USC team, playing with house money, ultimately spoiling what could have been a perfect season. Following the 26 - 13 upset, Washington remained perfect up until playing Alabama in the College Football Playoffs.
Following their surprising 2016 campaign, Washington is projected to have a similar type season this fall, in large part dude to the success of Browning. Having had his way with Pac-12 defenses, there is no reason to believe his numbers will significantly decrease. The defense may not be what it once was, though expect the Huskies to be highly formidable. While having a favorable home schedule, Washington will be heavily tested on the road.
The Pac 12 conference is known to have some of the college football’s most intimidating atmospheres, as notable names include Colorado, Arizona State, and yes, Oregon State. Browning was unfazed and virtually untouchable in 2016, thus now a sure Heisman contender. That said, teams will keying in Washington’s primary weapon just a bit more.
Hostile environments are king in todays game, proving to psychologically get in the heads of opponents time and time again. Demonstrating a mentally tough demeanor, Washington is not the type to give in. Having said that, the Huskies were a bit overlooked in 2016 due to their surprise reemergence on the college football map.
What To Expect
Washington has had Oregon State’s number in recent memory, owning 63 of 101 matchups, in the midst of a five year winning streak, the longest spanning 13 years from 1986 - 2000. During those years was also the Washington’s largest margin of victory, in which the Huskies trounced the Beavers 58 -6 in 1991. Fast forward to 2016, with the Washington continuing to dominate the Beavers, as the Huskies blew out Oregon State 41 - 17. However, hostile environments are king in today’s game as mentioned above, possibly resulting in a different story to be told come 2017’s September 30th meeting.
Notorious for spontaneously upsetting top ranked teams, Oregon State has played spoiler to some of college football’s best. Coming to mind is dethroning top ranked USC in 2008 to last year’s Civil War, and other monumental moments, as the Beavers have learned to embrace donning the title of underdog over the years. Given what will surely be an intimidating atmosphere in Reser Stadium, Browning and the Huskies will have their hands full.
Look for the Beavers’ rushing attack to expose Washington defensively, with all four backs seeing the field, as Ryan Nall, Artavis Pierce, Trevorris Johnson, and Thomas Tyner will give defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski and company all they can handle. For the Huskies to win this game, Browing will have to take advantage of Oregon State’s new secondary, with former cornerback Treston Deccoud and safety Devin Chappell’s decisions to go pro. As one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, Browning will ultimately get the job done though.
Prediction: Oregon State 17 , Washington 28
Players To Know
Jake Browning (QB): A likely Heisman finalist, Browning is everything wanted in a modern day pocket passer. His 2016 stat line separated him from the norm, though he will be countered USC superstar Sam Darnold as it pertains to the Pac 12’s best quarterback. As mentioned above, 3430 yards, and 43 touchdowns to nine interceptions is not to be overlooked.
Taylor Rapp (S): Who will be the new face and further enforcer of Washington’s new secondary, Rapp has big shoes to fill with the task of replacing Budda Baker. The 2016 Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year led the Huskies with four interceptions last season, primed to make an immediate impact in 2017. Rapp’s ceiling is sky high, with all in place for him to further make his name.
Myles Gaskin (RB): Consistant and reliable is all one needs to know as it pertains to Gaskin. Leaving fans smiling with high hopes for 2017, Gaskin showed out last season, accumulating 1373 yards on 237 attempts, with 10 touchdowns, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. Look for him to take the load off the shoulders of Browning, as he will have his faie share of minutes.
Lavon Coleman (RB): Like Oregon State, Washington has its own tandem at running back, with Lavon Coleman complimenting Gaskin in the backfield. Coleman added 852 yards on 114 attempts, with seven touchdowns, averaging 7.5 yards per carry. He is a spark plug with a nose for the end zone, putting opposing defenses on their heels when used in a unique scheme.
More Opponents Previews?
Day-by-day over the next two weeks, we’ll be taking a look at all over Oregon State football’s upcoming opponents for the 2017 season. Links to all the other teams previews can be found below.
- Game 1: Colorado State Rams
- Game 2: Portland State Vikings
- Game 3: Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Game 4: Washington State Cougars
- Game 5: Washington Huskies
- Game 6: USC Trojans
- Game 7: Colorado Buffaloes
- Game 8: Stanford Cardinal
- Game 9: California Golden Bears
- Game 10: Arizona Wildcats
- Game 11: Arizona State Sun Devils
- Game 12: Oregon Ducks