New head coach Chris Petersen got quite the welcoming to the Washington Huskies as his squad narrowly escaped paradise with a 17-16 win over the Hawaii Warriors. Washington was expected to win big against the Warriors, but some early season kinks clearly need to be worked out before the Huskies head into Pac-12 play. However, a win is a win.
As one of the best teams in the FCS, the Eastern Washington Eagles will have a chance to pull a major upset against an in-state foe that would send ripples through the college football world. The Eagles finished the 2013 season with 12 wins and a loss in the semifinals of the Division I playoffs. This game smells like an upset waiting to happen.
Washington had a tough time putting up points in week one as it was the first game in quite some time without the talented backfield of running back Bishop Sankey and quarterback Keith Price. The new starting quarterback, Jeff Lindquist had a rough start to the season as he completed just 10 of 26 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown. The team will hope that his poor completion percentage was just first-game jitters and not a sign of things to come. John Ross led all receivers with two catches for an astounding 96 yards and a 91-yard touchdown. The run game was not at all the same without Sankey as Lavon Coleman led the way with 78 yards on 17 carries.
Eastern Washington is one of the few college football teams at all levels of play who has played two games already — and it has won both in impressive blowout fashion. The Eagles have quite the impressive offense behind quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. who has 662 yards and nine touchdowns with just one interception through two games. His favorite targets have been Shaq Hill, 10 catches for 193 yards and a score, and Cory Mitchell, 16 catches for 186 yards and two scores. These two guys will continue to produce at the rate Adams Jr. does. The running backs are led by a dynamic trio in Quincy Forte, Jalen Moore and Mario Brown.
Defensively, the Eagles shut down Montana-Western in the second game of the season, improving on their mediocre performance in week one against Sam Houston State. In week one, the Eagles allowed 542 yards of total offense and 35 points — a huge area that needs improvement moving forward. Washington was out-gained by Hawaii in the first game of the season, allowing the Warriors to rack up over 400 total yards, but they held them to just 16 points. If the Huskies want to be successful, they need to defend the run much better.
Eastern Washington will travel to Washington to take on the Huskies at 3:05 p.m. EST on Saturday, Sept. 6. The game will be broadcasted on Pac-12 Network.
PREDICTION: Washington 31, Eastern Washington 24
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.