Chris Petersen takes over for Steve Sarkisian as the head coach of one of the top Pac-12 teams in the country. After going 92-12 with Boise State, many expect Petersen to do big things with a bigger program in the Washington Huskies.
Coming off an embarrassing 1-11 finish to the 2013 season, the Hawaii Warriors are looking to put the past behind them and strive for a better 2014 season. It can’t get much worse than a one-win season and head coach Norm Chow has some key returners on both sides of the ball.
Washington does lose some major talent on the offensive side of things in quarterback Keith Price, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and running back Bishop Sankey. However, the offense returns seven other starters, including four offensive linemen. While there was much competition in the spring to replace Price, sophomore quarterback Jeff Lindquist won the job and he will be taking the reigns having never attempted a pass in his short career. He will have top wide out Kasen Williams to throw to even after a shortened season because of an injury — he is still potent. The run game will be a running back by committee deal with sophomore Dwayne Washington leading the way.
Returning seven starters on the offensive side of the ball, the Warriors will be moving forward without an experienced starting quarterback. Norm Chow named sophomore Ikaika Woosley the starter at quarterback who has only thrown a pass in five career games and has passed for just 143 yards and three interceptions with no career touchdowns. It may be a down year in the passing game even with Keith Kirkwood and Scott Harding returning to the receiving corps as starters. Senior Joey Iosefa leads the run game as he has improved little by little each year in the backfield. Iosefa finished the 2013 season with 590 yards and five touchdowns along with 10 catches for 87 yards and a score.
Defensively, the Warriors were pitiful in 2013, ranking near the bottom of the nation in almost every category. In fact, Hawaii ranked 113th in scoring defense, 116th in passing yards allowed, 104th in rushing yards allowed and 115th in total yards allowed. This game could turn into a shootout. Washington fared much better on the defensive side of things in 2013 and it also returns nine starters. The Huskies ranked 29th in scoring defense and 55th in total defense.
Washington will travel to Hawaii to take on the Warriors at 10:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, Aug. 30. The game will be broadcasted on CBS Sports Network.
PREDICTION: Hawaii 20, Washington 31
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at email@example.com.