The first Saturday of the college football season is upon us and every year we see some big school stumble against a team they should beat pretty easily. Turning our eye towards the Pac 12 slate of games in week one, we put the Washington Huskies on upset alert against the visiting San Diego State Aztecs.
The Huskies are entering head coach Steve Sarkisian‘s fourth year, and expectations are high in the Emerald City. After years of being the fourth-best team in a three-team conference, the Dawgs are looking to take the next step and become a Pac 12 contender. So why does this game seem like a trap game?
The Huskies tend to start slow
Last season, Washington was a late-game heave into the endzone away from losing to FCS Eastern Washington in their season-opener in 2011. Eagles quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell threw for 473 yards and threw three touchdowns in engineering the near-upset at Husky Stadium. For what was supposed to be a tune-up game, the Huskies turned it into a nail biter. Before holding off EWU late, Sark’s Huskies had been winless in season-opening games. They always have talent, but they seem to have a tendency to start slow.
Unorthodox defense against questionable offensive line
One of the biggest question marks facing the Huskies this season is the status of their offensive line. Heading into the start of fall camp, Sarkisian was still looking for a pair of tackles to bookend the offensive line. The Aztecs are going to bring pressure from different angles in their 3-3-5 defensive scheme. Nothing gives offensive line headaches like having to figure out an unorthodox defense. And nothing gives a head coach headaches like putting out an inexperienced line to figure it out.
Huskies’ focus may be elsewhere
The Huskies would never say they’re overlooking the Aztecs, but next week they make the trip to Baton Rouge to take on LSU. When the schedule came out, you can be sure that most Husky players and fans looked straight to week 2, which could hurt the focus for Washington in this little thing called “Week 1.”
The Aztecs are not a team to be overlooked. They have a punishing running game behind Adam Muema (who burst onto the scene in his first start last season against Boise State with 13 rushes for 119 yards) and a quarterback who is no stranger to Pac 12 defenses in Oregon State-transfer Ryan Katz. Their aggressive 3-3-5 defensive scheme is just the style that could throw a wrench into a Husky offense that doesn’t quite know where its production is going to come from yet.
So stay on your toes, Washington, or you could find yourself tripped up by an upset-minded San Diego State squad.
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