PREVIEW AND PREDICTION: Stanford vs. Washington (Hype Video)

Game: Stanford Cardinal vs. Washington Huskies

Where: Seattle, WA

When: Sept. 27thth, 1:15pm

Channel: FOX

Line: Stanford by 7 points.

Game Storylines:

Will the coaches open up the playbook and trust Cyler Miles to throw down the middle of the field? It is no secret that the 2014 Husky squad has struggled to pass the ball over the middle of the field. The Huskies appeared to make a conscious effort to establish a passing game in the first half against Georgia State last week. It was an embarrassing effort as our offense was shutout the first half against a Sun Belt team. Fortunately, the Dawgs could turn to the running game and find a way to win in the second half. However, if the Huskies remain one-dimensional on offense the Stanford defense will dominate this game. If the Huskies are going to compete and have a chance to win in this game, Cyler Miles will have to show the ability to step up in the pocket and deliver some big-time throws down the middle of the field.

How will the Huskies offensive and defensive lines compare to their Stanford counterparts? Recently, Stanford has become known for their dominance along the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They have established themselves as the “status quo” along the offensive and defensive lines in the PAC-12. This year is no exception; the Cardinal boasts the most formidable offensive line in the PAC-12 along with one of the best defenses in the country. Through the first four games of the season the Huskies strength has been the offensive line and defensive front seven. The offensive line has been able to assert their dominance and establish a solid running attack and the defensive line has been extremely productive so far. Just how good are the Huskies in the trenches? We will have our answer tomorrow afternoon. If the Huskies can compete in the trenches, they will certainly have a shot at taking down the 16th ranked Stanford Cardinal.

Matchups:

2014 Matchup - UW vs Stanford

Quarterback. Stanford QB, Kevin Hogan gets the edge here. Hogan is far more experienced than UW’s Cyler Miles. I personally believe that Miles has more potential and play-making ability; however, it is tough to beat Hogan’s 73% completion percentage and 7:1 touchdown to interception ratio.

Running Backs. Stanford seems to always have a productive running back, and this year is no different. Barry Sanders Jr. (son of…well you know who) gives the Cardinal an explosive player in the backfield. Sanders Jr. is shifty and elusive just like his father was. However, I am giving the edge here to the Washington Huskies and their stable of running backs. The Dawgs have three running backs that have more carries than Stanford’s leading rusher. The combination of Dwayne Washington, Lavon Coleman, and Deontae Cooper has proven to be effective. Throw in a series with Shaq in the backfield and you really have something special at the running back position. Edge, Huskies.

Wide Receivers. Neither team has looked all that impressive through the air this season even though both teams have veteran players at the wide receiver position. The Washington receivers have an abundance of talent and potential, but they have underperformed so far this season. The Cardinal receiving corps has been slightly more productive this season and therefore has the edge at this position. Led by Ty Montgomery, Devon Cajuste, and Michael Rector the Cardinal have plenty of talent to throw to.

Tight End. The Washington Huskies are beginning to see the emergence of sophomore, converted wide receiver, Darrell Daniels. Daniels has converted a couple of big third down catches and seems to be improving week to week. With that being said, the edge goes to Stanford’s Austin Hooper. Hooper is 6-4 250 lbs and the Cardinal’s second leading receiver. He has 12 catches on the season for 170 yards and a touchdown. Edge, Stanford.

Offensive Line. Both teams rely heavily on their offensive line and both groups have performed exceptionally leading up to this game. Washington has experience and talent spread throughout their two-deep rotation up front. Likewise, Stanford boasts a plethora of talent and veteran leadership across their offensive line. I am giving the slight edge here to the Cardinal due to their sustained dominance along the offensive line the past five years.

Defensive Line. Has anyone in the nation dominated the line of scrimmage like Danny Shelton and Hau’oli Kikaha have!? Shelton and Kikaha are leading the nation in sacks and have exceeded everyone’s expectations so far this season. Without taking anything away from their performance, it is important to note that they have played against inferior offensive lineman throughout the first four games of the season. Tomorrow will be their first true test, the “great” Stanford Cardinal offensive line. I believe that the Huskies will be up to the challenge. Huskies get the edge here simply because Danny Shelton alone has as many sacks as the entire Stanford defense.

Linebackers. Stanford’s linebacker unit is led by A.J. Tarpley, Kevin Anderson, and James Vaughters. All three have performed at a high level this season. However, all three weigh over 245 lbs which may make covering Washington’s Legion of Zoon difficult. The edge here goes the Huskies experienced and ultra-talented linebacking corps of Shaq Thompson, John Timu, and Travis Feeney who have a combined three defensive touchdowns in the past two weeks.

Defensive Secondary. Husky Nation was sure glad to see Marcus Peters back in the lineup last week as he picked off two passes and had a third interception negated by a questionable pass interference penalty. Peters has proven he can hold his own against some of the best receivers in the nation. Freshmen Sidney Jones and Budda Baker have shown improvement week to week; however, the Huskies secondary has still struggled for extended periods of time against each of their first four opponents. The Stanford Cardinal defense has yet to give up a passing touchdown. Pretty easy pick here, edge goes to Stanford.

Special Team. Two of the nation’s elite return teams will be on full display tomorrow in Husky Stadium. Stanford’s Ty Montgomery and Washington’s combination of John Ross III and Dante Pettis are downright electrifying. Montgomery has already returned a punt for a touchdown this season; John Ross III had a kick return touchdown called back due to a penalty and Pettis showed off his moves last week. The return game is a draw in my eyes. The special teams edge is won by Washington’s kicking game. Korey Durkee has been decent punting the ball with a 38-yard average and Cameron Van Winkle is 6 for 6 on his field goal attempts, including a 51-yard bomb. Stanford has struggled punting and especially place-kicking. Place-kciker, Jordan Williamson has only converted 2 of his 5 attempted field goals. Edge, Washington Huskies.

Prediction:

Stanford 27 Washington 24. The stage is set for the biggest game in Chris Petersen’s short tenure as the Husky’s Head Coach. The 16th ranked Stanford Cardinal are coming to town, the UW students are back in school, and the stadium will be packed and “blacked-out.” The environment will be electric when the game kicks off at 1:15pm tomorrow afternoon. Expect both teams to try to establish their running attack; however, that is playing to the strengths of the opponent’s defense. I think the Huskies matchup well with Stanford and will have a chance to pull off the upset. In the end, I think that the Huskies youth will make one more critical error than a more experienced Cardinal squad. Bring out the chips and dip, grab a cold one, and enjoy what promises to be a great college football game. Go Dawgs!

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Sounders Focus Sights On Next Goal

Seattle Sounders Goal

The team celebrates Oba’s late goal that capped of their U.S. Open Cup victory.

The Seattle Sounders are coming a huge win against the Philadelphia Union in the final of the 2014 U.S. Open Cup. It was Seattle’s fourth time winning the trophy, which ties the record for most times winning it, but this was arguably the most satisfying. On the road. Coming back from being down 1-0. Surviving regulation time. Scoring two goals in extra time. Truly spectacular. Never had this team faced that much adversity in an Open Cup final, so seeing the squad come out on top Tuesday night was extremely satisfying for the players, the coaches, and the fans.

Chad Barrett‘s header was Seattle’s only regulation goal. The defense had to hold off some late pushes from the Union towards the end of the match. Once extra time began it was all Sounders FC, as Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins were each able to net goals.

Now Seattle sets its sights on the team’s next goal: winning the Supporters’ Shield. Awarded to the top team at the end of the MLS season, the Sounders have never won the honor – they were runners-up in 2011. At 54 points, the Rave Green are currently at the top of the standings by three points with a game in hand and seven matches left. Last year, Seattle had lead in the race for the Supporters’ Shield with seven games left only to see it crumble away as they failed to win another game.

The team does not want that to happen again. Not this year. You can bet this team is motivated to play extremely well over the final stretch. And that final stretch begins tomorrow in a road match against the New York Red Bulls. No doubt this will prove to be a huge test for the Sounders, as New York is riding a four-match winning streak and hasn’t lost at home since May. Not to mention they have two of the more prolific front lines in MLS in Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips, who leads the league in goals with 21.

It’s the first game of the final stretch for Seattle and they need to get off to a good start. The team cannot afford a late-season collapse like last year, and I doubt the players will let that happens.

In case you missed the game, here are the highlights of the U.S. Open Cup Final (no audio):

You can watch tomorrow’s match at 4:30 PT on NBC or listen on 97.3 FM. GO SOUNDERS!

PREVIEW and PREDICTION: Georgia State vs. Washington

Coach Chris Petersen leads his team out for warm-ups in Hawaii. Can Coach Pete keep his team focused as heavy favorites?

Coach Chris Petersen leads his team out for warm-ups in Hawaii. Can Coach Pete keep his team focused as heavy favorites?

Game: Georgia State Panthers vs. Washington Huskies

Where: Seattle, WA

When: Sept. 20th, 3:00pm

Channel: PAC-12 Networks

Line: Huskies by 34.5 points

Game Storylines:

Will junior cornerback, Marcus Peters, play this week after serving his one-week suspension? Chris Petersen has a policy that all disciplinary suspensions are kept in-house. All we know is that Peters has been reinstated to the football program and has been practicing with the team this week. However, Coach Pete didn’t seem certain that Marcus Peters would start or even play this week. Having Peters back in the secondary would be advantageous against another pass-happy team, but we all know Coach Pete won’t play Peters until he feels it is deserved.

Can a young and inexperienced Husky team stay focused after a blow-out win and perform again as heavy favorites? The Huskies played great last week at home against Illinois in a convincing win. The test now is can these young Dawgs lock in to their assignments throughout the week and not over look the Georgia State Panthers. Nearly every team has trouble remaining confident while avoiding blatant arrogance. Being confident is believing that the team will take care of business Monday-Friday and be prepared for anything Saturday may hold. Blatant arrogance is loafing your way through the week of practice knowing you are playing a “patty-cake” team on Saturday. More often than not, young teams develop some level of arrogance and overlook opponents like Georgia State and then get humiliated by underdogs. Can the coaches and veteran players keep this team focused throughout the week of preparation and perform at a high level on Saturday? Only time will tell.

 

Matchups:

2014 Matchup - UW vs Georgia State

Prediction:

UW 45 Georgia State 13. The Huskies have superior talent at every position on both sides of the ball, and in the end this disparity will prove to be too much for Georgia State to handle. Washington’s offense will score and chew up clock utilizing their ground and pound running game. The offensive line will build off of their momentum and continue to create running lanes for the Husky running backs. Cyler Miles should also have another solid game as he will only be asked to throw the ball about 20 times. Expect Miles to play within the scope of the game plan and continue to make good decisions with the ball. Our defense was much improved in week 3 against the Fighting Illini and should take another step forward this week. The front seven led by Danny Shelton, Hau’oli Kikaha, and Shaq Thompson should have another field day against the undersized Panthers. The defensive backfield will be challenged at times by Georgia State’s QB, Nick Arbuckle. He has shown the ability to make perfect passes into tight windows. The Husky secondary will need to be on point otherwise Arbuckle might repeat his 400+ yards 2 TD performance from a week ago. It seems as if veteran cornerback, Marcus Peters, could play again this week which would be a huge boost to the struggling defensive backfield. At the end of the day, the Husky offense rolls out long scoring drives and John Ross III will return a kick to give the Huskies another blow-out victory on Montlake.

Logan Morrison Keeps Mariners Pushing Towards Playoffs

Logan Morrison Seattle Mariners Home Run

Logan Morrison watches the biggest hit of his career leave the yard.

Thursday night’s game felt familiar for the Seattle Mariners, and not in a good way. Felix Hernandez went seven scoreless innings against a AAA lineup, but he left the game in a 0-0 tie and – yet another – no decision. It felt like another disappointing loss was looming. But then something happened. Something that wasn’t so familiar. Logan Morrison stepped up to the plate in the ninth with two on and two outs and blasted a three-run home run to put the M’s up 3-0.

The Fernando Rodney Experience then came in and was at his finest tonight, giving up a solo home run to Hank Conger and committing an error before recording his Mariner-record 46th save of the season. With the 3-1 victory Seattle split the series in Anaheim against the AL-West champions Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim?). The Angels just clinched the division last night and all of there starters took the day off today.

The Mariners are now one game back of the Oakland Athletics for the second wildcard spot after the A’s lost earlier today. They are also a game-and-a-half back of the Kansas City Royals, who begin a huge series with the Detroit Tigers tomorrow, for the first wildcard spot. So as poorly as the Mariners have played lately, they are right thereMorrison and the Mariners need to realize that. They can’t rely on one good inning per game to get them to the playoffs. The Mariners’ offense needs to have timely hits throughout the ball game in order to make the postseason.

Seattle travels southeast to take on the Houston Astros in a three-game weekend series starting tomorrow before finishing the season with a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays and a three-game home stand against the Angels. It’s important for the Mariners to win all of these series if they want to make the postseason. A record of 6-4 the rest of the way would likely be enough for the M’s, but 7-3 would surely lock a wildcard spot up.

It’s nerve-racking. It’s heart-wrenching. It’s exciting. It’s agonizing. It’s fun. It’s September baseball. And the Mariners are playing meaningful September baseball for the first time in over a decade. Now what can they do with it?

Because the only thing better than September baseball is…OCTOBER. BASEBALL. Go M’s!

DEPTH CHART: Week 4 vs. Georgia State – Kasen Williams, Coleman Shelton, Marcus Peters, and Sidney Jones

Wide receiver, Kasen Williams, makes a spectacular one-handed catch on a two-point conversion against EWU.

Wide receiver, Kasen Williams, makes a spectacular one-handed catch on a two-point conversion against EWU.

Key Thoughts:

  • Kasen Williams seems to have fully recovered from the broken leg he suffered last year, and as a result has risen to the top of the depth chart. In Coach Pete’s weekly Monday press conference he said that a deliberate effort will be made to get the ball to Williams more often moving forward. Williams is a veteran receiver with big play potential and the Huskies need him to step up.
  • Sliding down the wide receiver depth chart is Marvin Hall Jr. Hall has been listed as the starter the past three games and is now listed as the third string at that same position. When asked about the shake-up at the wide receiver position, Coach Pete said it is simply to reward the players that practice hard and deserve more reps during the games. The beneficiaries of this will certainly be Kasen Williams as well as true freshman Dante Pettis.
  • Senior right tackle, Ben Riva, is listed as the backup for the Huskies week 4 matchup against Georgia State. Riva has been battling a nagging injury throughout the first four weeks of the season. His replacement will continue to be redshirt freshman, Coleman Shelton, who has impressed the coaches with his performances.
  • Marcus Peters has rejoined the Husky Football team after serving his one-week suspension due to his sideline meltdown against Eastern Washington in week 2. Peters is still listed as the starting cornerback; however, don’t read too much into that as he was also listed as the starter last week even though he didn’t play a single snap. Husky Nation hopes that the talented Peters can find his way out of Coach Pete’s doghouse and have a bounce back performance against Georgia State.
  • Redshirt freshman cornerback, Jermaine Kelly, will likely miss the remainder of the season due to a freak injury in practice. Kelly underwent surgery yesterday morning to repair his broken ankle. This is a huge loss for the Huskies already-vulnerable secondary as Kelly was the starting corner opposite Marcus Peters. Fortunately, his injury occurred within the first four games of the season and therefore he will most likely get a season of eligibility back from the NCAA through a medical redshirt. In other words, Kelly will likely be a freshman eligibility-wise again next season.
  • True freshman cornerback, Sidney Jones, has stepped up in a big way and has performed admirably as Kelly’s replacement. With Kelly out for the rest of the season, expect Jones to run with this opportunity and be a consistent presence in the defensive backfield.
  • Backup quarterback, Jeff Lindquist, has been named the starting holder for place-kicking duties. Throughout the first three weeks punter, Korey Durkee, has held all of the kicks. Don’t be surprised if you see a fake field goal or fake PAT at some point this season. With Coach Pete’s knack for trick plays, Jeff Lindquist is the perfect holder as he is a capable passer and runner.

 

Offense:

Quarterbacks:

Cyler Miles (6-4 225 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore)

Jeff Lindquist (6-3 246 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore)

Troy Williams (6-2 194 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Running Backs:

Dwayne Washington (6-2 219 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore)

Lavon Coleman (5-11 217 lbs; Redshirt Freshman) –OR-

Jesse Callier (5-10 206 lbs; Senior) –OR-

Deontae Cooper (5-11 199 lbs; Senior)

Wide Receiver #1:

Kasen Williams (6-3 217 lbs; Senior)

Dante Pettis (6-0 177 lbs; Freshman)

Marvin Hall (5-10 188 lbs; Junior)

Left Tackle:

Micah Hatchie (6-5 306 lbs; Senior)

Jake Eldrenkamp (6-5 292 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore)

Left Guard:

Dexter Charles (6-5 311 lbs; Junior)

Siosifa Tufunga (6-3 321 lbs; Junior)

Center:

Colin Tanigawa (6-3 292 lbs; Senior)

Mike Criste (6-6 319 lbs; Senior)

Right Guard:

James Atoe (6-7 381 lbs; Senior)

Ross Dolbec (6-5 313 lbs; Junior)

Right Tackle:

Coleman Shelton (6-4 281 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Ben Riva (6-7 313 lbs; Senior)

Tight End:

Darrell Daniels (6-4 234 lbs; Sophomore) –OR-

Michael Hartvigson (6-6 251 lbs; Senior)

Slot Receiver:

Jaydon Mickens (5-11 174 lbs; Junior)

John Ross III (5-11 179 lbs; Sophomore)

Kendyl Taylor (5-10 202 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore)

Wide Receiver #2:

DiAndre Campbell (6-2 206 lbs; Senior)

John Ross III (5-11 179 lbs; Sophomore)

Brayden Lenius (6-5 217 lbs; Freshman)

 

Defense:

Defensive End:

Andrew Hudson (6-3 246 lbs; Senior)

Joe Mathis (6-2 250 lbs; Sophomore)

Will Dissly (6-4 273 lbs; Freshman)

Defensive Tackle:

Evan Hudson (6-6 273 lbs; Senior)

Taani Tupou (6-2 282 lbs; Junior)

Nose Tackle:

Danny Shelton (6-2 339 lbs; Senior)

Elijah Qualls (6-1 311 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Greg Gaines (6-1 321 lbs; Freshman)

 “Buck” End:

Hau’oli Kikaha (6-3 246 lbs; Senior)

Jarret Finau (6-3 261 lbs; Junior)

Psalm Wooching (6-4 225 lbs; Sophomore)

Outside Linebacker #1:

Travis Feeney (6-4 218 lbs; Junior)

Keishawn Bierria (6-1 221 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Middle Linebacker:

John Timu (6-1 246 lbs; Senior)

Scott Lawyer (6-2 225 lbs; Junior)

Azeem Victor (6-3 244 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Outside Linebacker #2:

Shaq Thompson (6-1 228 lbs; Junior)

Corey Littleton (6-3 229 lbs; Junior)

Sean Constantine (6-2 224 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Cornerback #1:

Marcus Peters (6-0 190 lbs; Junior)

Travell Dixon (6-1 195 lbs; Senior) –OR-

Naijel Hale (5-10 171 lbs; Freshman)

Cornerback #2:

Sidney Jones (6-0 171 lbs; Freshman)

Darren Gardenhire (5-11 173 lbs; Freshman)

Free Safety:

Kevin King (6-3 183 lbs; Sophomore)

Trevor Walker (5-11 186 lbs; Sophomore)

Strong Safety:

Budda Baker (5-10 173 lbs; Freshman)

Brandon Beaver (6-0 192 lbs; Sophomore) –OR-

Brian Clay (6-1 196 lbs; Junior)

 

Special Teams:

Punter:

Korey Durkee (6-4 230 lbs; Junior)

Tristan Vizcaino (6-2 210 lbs; Freshman)

Kicker:

Cameron Van Winkle (5-10 180 lbs; Sophomore) –OR-

Tristan Vizcaino (6-2 210 lbs; Freshman)

Snapper:

Ryan Masel (6-1 199 lbs; Junior)

Evan Hudson (6-6 273 lbs; Senior)

Holder:

Jeff Lindquist (6-3 246 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore)

Korey Durkee (6-4 230 lbs; Junior)

Punt Return:

Dante Pettis (6-0 177 lbs; Freshman)

Jaydon Mickens (5-11 174 lbs; Junior)

Kick Return:

John Ross III (5-11 179 lbs; Sophomore)

Budda Baker (5-10 173 lbs; Freshman)

RECAP: Illinois vs. Washington – Post-game Awards: Shaq Thompson, Hau’oli Kikaha, Sidney Jones

Linebacker, Shaq Thompson celebrates his pick six with teammates and fans in Touchdown Terrace.

Linebacker, Shaq Thompson celebrates his pick six with teammates and fans in Touchdown Terrace.

Overall: UW 44 Illinois 19

The Washington Huskies have been searching for their identity as a football team early on this season. With new coaches, new schemes, and new players, the Huskies have struggled to fall into a rhythm and play a complete game. Well, the Dawgs got some answers this week after their most complete game of the season. Quarterback, Cyler Miles has proven he can command the offense and distribute the ball to the Husky playmakers. The running game is improving week to week as the offensive lineman and running backs continue to grind out yards and touchdown runs. The Husky passing game is becoming more consistent as well. John Ross III is without a doubt one of the most electrifying players in the country. His four receiving touchdowns on the season have been explosive plays of 55 yards or more. Defensively the Huskies were expected to give way to an experienced Illinois passing game. The defensive responded well, Shaq Thompson scored two defensive touchdowns, Hau’oli Kikaha sacked Wes Lunt three times, and true freshman cornerback Sidney Jones held his own. The Huskies need to clean up their special teams play going into conference play. Punter Korey Durkee fumbled a snap giving the Fighting Illini a free safety. Also, a costly block in the back penalty negated perhaps the flashiest kick return I have ever seen…courtesy of John Ross III of course. Click Here to watch PAC-12 Network’s game highlights.

MVP – Shaq Thompson (4 Tackles, 1 Interception, 1 Fumble Recovery, 2 TDs)

Shaq Thompson finally proved to be the playmaking defensive player he was hyped up to be. He has consistently been the team’s most reliable tackler, but he took his game to another level and made two game-breaking plays. Shaq has a high football IQ and seems to always be around the ball and that surely paid off for the Huskies. On the offensive side of the ball, Shaq nearly turned a 13-yard run into yet another long touchdown run before getting tripped up. Thompson’s versatility on both sides of the ball has been essential to the Huskies success. To add to his great week, Shaq has been named PAC-12 Defensive Player of the Week.

Offensive Player of the Game – Offensive Line Unit

Check these stats out:

  • Five Husky running backs averaged 4+ yards per carry.
  • 245 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • 1 Sack.

The offensive line played a great game. They helped the Husky running backs bulldoze their way to 245 yards and two touchdowns. The offensive line established their dominance of the line of scrimmage while controlling the pace of the game. All the while they only gave up one sack, which some may argue was not even their fault. The sound performance of the offensive line allowed the Husky skill position players to shine on Saturday.

Hau'oli Kikaha celebrates one of this three sacks last Saturday against the Fighting Illini.

Hau’oli Kikaha celebrates one of this three sacks last Saturday against the Fighting Illini.

Defensive Player of the Game – Hau’oli Kikaha (6 Tackles, 3 Sacks, 1 Fumble Recovery)

Now, the obvious pick here would be Shaq Thompson with his two defensive touchdowns, but he has already been awarded the overall MVP. Trying to spread the love a little, this week’s DPOG goes to the quarterback assassin, Hau’oli Kikaha. With three sacks on Saturday Kikaha now has 22 sacks in his illustrious Husky career. Nothing helps out a young and inexperienced secondary than a potent pass rush. Kikaha sure made things a whole lot easier by relentlessly pursuing the Illinois QB all game. With his standout performance rushing the passer, Hau’oli Kikaha is your Husky Defensive Player of the Game.

Special Teams Player of the Game – Cameron Van Winkle (3 for 3 on field goals)

Van Winkle had his best performance in a Husky uniform on Saturday converting all three of his attempted field goals. He made his two routine attempts from 20 and 25-yards out respectively. However, he nailed a 51-yard field goal which is an excellent kick for any NFL kicker, let alone a college player. Converting from that distance might be the confidence booster he needed to start his breakout season.

Most Improved Player – Sidney Jones (3 Tackles, 0 Receptions Allowed)

The big story going into this game was how the Huskies would replace starting cornerbacks, Marcus Peters (suspension) and Jermaine Kelly (ankle). No player stepped up more than the true freshman cornerback, Sidney Jones. He held his own against a bigger and more experienced Illinois receiving corps. Jones proved that he could stay focused, disciplined, and play sound football for 60 minutes on the big stage. Coaches praised his performance along with his demeanor on and off the field. Being a true freshman, Jones will have his growing pains, but Husky Nation should be excited for what his future holds.

PREVIEW AND PREDICTION: Illinois vs. Washington – Can the Husky Defense have a rebound performance?

The Washington Huskies will once again lean heavily on their running game. Lavon Coleman has played well the past two games and is looking to carry that momentum into this weekend's game.

The Washington Huskies will once again lean heavily on their running game. Lavon Coleman has played well the past two games and is looking to carry that momentum into this weekend’s game.

Game: Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Washington Huskies

Where: Seattle, WA

When: Sept. 13th, 1:00pm

Channel: FOX

Line: UW favored by 13.5 points

Game Storylines:

How will the Husky secondary hold up without Marcus Peters while facing another pass-happy team? To say that the Washington Huskies defensive backfield struggled against Vernon Adams Jr. and the Eastern Washington Eagles would be an understatement. The Dawg’s youth and inexperience was on full display last weekend as the Eagles threw for 475 yards and 7 TDs. Now the Huskies face the Fighting Illini led by an experienced passer in Wes Lunt accompanied by his stable of physically dominant receivers. Add in the fact that Marcus Peters has been reportedly suspended for the game and all signs are pointing to another high scoring affair. Husky Nation and the UW coaches will be placing their hopes of a 3-0 start on the inexperienced defensive backfield of Travell Dixon, Sidney Jones, Budda Baker, and Kevin King. Will these young players step up and show improvement from the disaster that was last week?

 

Matchups:

2014 Matchup - UW vs Illinois

Quarterback. The quarterback position is an intriguing matchup. Cyler Miles has shown he is a dual-threat QB after rushing for 3 touchdowns last week. Miles has plenty of room to develop as a passer, but he has shown adequate arm strength, accuracy, and decision making. Illinois’ quarterback, Wes Lunt, was a highly touted high school recruit and started as a true freshman at Oklahoma State before he was riddled with injuries and ultimately transferred to Illinois. Lunt is your prototypical passer who has excellent arm strength and accuracy down the field. Both QB’s have proven to be very effective in their first two games, therefore this position is a draw in terms of a position matchup.

Running Back. The Huskies stable of running backs have improved each week this season. Dwayne Washington and Lavon Coleman have proven that they can carry the offense down the field and score. The UW offensive line has also helped these running backs establish their physical ground-and-pound running style. Illinois boasts their own “thunder & lightning” package in the backfield. Senior, Donovan Young is a bruising running back who is complemented nicely by the speedy Josh Ferguson. Throughout the first two weeks, the Husky running backs have been more productive and therefore receive the edge at this position.

Wide Reveiver. This is perhaps the most disappointing position after two games for the Washington Huskies. The Dawgs have loads of talent and experience in Kasen Williams, Jaydon Mickens, and John Ross III; however, their presence has not been felt consistently throughout the entire game. Illinois’ receivers on the other hand are big, physical, and dominant. Their starting outside receivers, Geronimo Allison and Malik Turner, are skyscrapers standing at 6-4 and 6-3 respectively. Also, Illinois has tremendous depth with seven players with 5 or more catches. In the end, the Husky wide outs may be more talented, but the superior production of the Illinois receiving corps gets the edge here.

Tight End. Neither team regularly utilizes their tight ends even though each team has capable players at that position. The Huskies have a solid blocking tight end in senior, Michael Hartvigson. He is complemented well by sophomore, Darrell Daniels, who is a vertical threat down the seam. Illinois also has two tight ends in Matt LaCosse and Jon Davis. Don’t expect many impact plays coming from this position on either team, this matchup is a draw.

Offensive Line. The Huskies offensive line has done a good job keeping their QB upright as well as clearing excellent running lanes for the running backs. In each of the Husky’s first two games, the o-line has established their dominance of the line of scrimmage. This group is strong, athletic, and experienced; all signs point to another successful game for the Husky offensive line. The Fighting Illini offensive line has also performed admirably this season only giving up two sacks through their first two games. With that being said, the overall experience and depth of the Washington Huskies earns the edge.

Defensive Line. The Huskies defensive lineman have performed well in their first two games of the season. Danny Shelton has a nation-leading 6 sacks and 24 tackles and is establishing himself as an elite interior lineman. Hau’oli Kikaha is proving that he belongs in a category with the country’s best pass rushers as well. The UW d-line needs to be more consistent and receive more contributions from players outside of Shelton and Kikaha. Illinois defensive line has also shown the ability to get after the passer. Led by their 9-tech, or “STAR” player, Earnest Thomas III the fighting Illini have a respectable five sacks on the season. However, the lethal combination of Danny Shelton and Hau’oli Kikaha will prove to be the difference maker; edge goes to Washington.

Linebackers. Shaq Thompson leads an experienced Husky linebacker unit into tomorrow’s showdown with Illinois. Thompson, Timu, and Feeney have all proven to be reliable tacklers and combined to create the game-winning turnover last week. These three will need to have another solid day patrolling the middle of the field against the pass-happy Fighting Illini. Illinois linebackers are led by Mason Monheim and T.J. Neal Jr. The overall athleticism, depth, and experience of the Husky linebackers get the nod here.

Defensive Backfield. It sure would be difficult to give the Huskies the edge here after such an embarrassing performance last weekend against Eastern Washington. The Huskies secondary allowed 475 passing yards and 7 touchdowns in an absolute shootout. With Illinois’ experienced passing game led by QB, Wes Lunt and his wide receivers, all signs point to another long day for the UW secondary. The Fighting Illini are not getting the edge here because they earned it with their performance, they are getting the edge here because they simply can’t be worse than a Marcus Peters-less Husky secondary. Edge, Illinois.

Special Teams. Washington’s kicking game has been mediocre this season. Korey Durkee has performed well in his punting duties; however, kicker Cameron Van Winkle needs to improve his focus and consistency after missing a PAT last weekend. Freshman Tristan Vizcaino might get his first chance to do some place-kicking this weekend. The Husky return game has been exceptional through the first two games of the season led by the electrifying John Ross III. The edge goes to Washington here; look for John Ross III to score on a kick return this weekend.

Prediction:

UW 48 Illinois 38. The Husky offense will take another step forward as Cyler Miles continues to develop as a passer in Chris Petersen’s new offense. The offensive line will consistently open up running lanes for Dwayne Washington and Lavon Coleman as the Huskies lean on their running attack once again. Wes Lunt and the Illinois receivers will have a field day on the young and inexperienced Husky secondary; however, the Husky defense will have a “bend but don’t break” performance while creating another game deciding turnover at an opportune time.

DEPTH CHART: Week 3 vs. Illinois

Cornerback Marcus Peters walks off the field last weekend against the Eastern Washington Eagles. It has been rumored that Peters has been suspended for this week's game due to his sideline meltdown.

Cornerback Marcus Peters walks off the field last weekend against the Eastern Washington Eagles. It has been rumored that Peters has been suspended for this week’s game due to his sideline meltdown.

Key Thoughts:

  • The main development this week has been Coach Pete’s disciplinary actions towards veteran cornerback, Marcus Peters. Peters was sidelined for the second half after committing a “stupid” penalty and arguing with coaches. Rumors have been floating around that Peters has been suspended for the game this weekend; however, he is still listed as the starter on this week’s depth chart. Coach Pete’s discipline policy is to keep suspensions in-house, so nobody will truly know if Peters will be playing until game time. Losing the only experienced member of the Husky secondary could be a crunching loss against another pass-happy team such as Illinois.
  • Cyler Miles seems as if he has solidified himself as the Huskies starting quarterback of the future. However, in his press conferences, Coach Pete, has been hesitant to publicly name the starting QB for the season. It would be safe to assume Coach Pete’s plan is to move forward with Miles, but he is taking it week by week to promote competition everyday at practice.
  • Ben Riva is listed as the starter at Right Tackle after showing coaches he has fully recovered from his injuries that held him out of the season opener.
  • Sophomore TE Darrell Daniels played well last week and has earned the starting spot at receiving TE. This could be a big development as coaches and fans are hopeful that Daniels could have a breakout season.
  • The coaching staff was impressed with the effort and performance of true freshman cornerback, Sidney Jones. Don’t be surprised if Jones opens the game opposite Travell Dixon as the starting cornerbacks. Jones and Dixon were the corners throughout the 4th quarter last week and performed the best. (That isn’t saying much as the Eagles threw for 475 yards).
  • True freshman, Dante Pettis, will get the start once again at returning punts. With that being said, he will likely get limited chances to return punts in what could be another offensive shootout.
  • Sophomore place-kicker Cameron Van Winkle missed a critical extra point last week. Obviously Coach Pete was displeased and has since re-opened the place-kicking competition. Freshman kicker, Tristan Vizcaino, has performed admirably on kick-offs and might get a chance to do some place-kicking this weekend against the Fighting Illini.

Offense:

Quarterbacks:

Cyler Miles (6-4 225 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore)

Jeff Lindquist (6-3 246 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore)

Troy Williams (6-2 194 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Running Backs:

Dwayne Washington (6-2 219 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore)

Lavon Coleman (5-11 217 lbs; Redshirt Freshman) –OR-

Jesse Callier (5-10 206 lbs; Senior) –OR-

Deontae Cooper (5-11 199 lbs; Senior)

Wide Receiver #1:

Marvin Hall (5-10 188 lbs; Junior)

Kasen Williams (6-3 217 lbs; Senior)

Dante Pettis (6-0 177 lbs; Freshman)

Left Tackle:

Micah Hatchie (6-5 306 lbs; Senior)

Jake Eldrenkamp (6-5 292 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore)

Left Guard:

Dexter Charles (6-5 311 lbs; Junior)

Siosifa Tufunga (6-3 321 lbs; Junior)

Center:

Colin Tanigawa (6-3 292 lbs; Senior)

Mike Criste (6-6 319 lbs; Senior)

Right Guard:

James Atoe (6-7 381 lbs; Senior)

Ross Dolbec (6-5 313 lbs; Junior)

Right Tackle:

Ben Riva (6-7 313 lbs; Senior)

Coleman Shelton (6-4 281 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Tight End:

Darrell Daniels (6-4 234 lbs; Sophomore) –OR-

Michael Hartvigson (6-6 251 lbs; Senior)

Slot Receiver:

Jaydon Mickens (5-11 174 lbs; Junior)

John Ross III (5-11 179 lbs; Sophomore)

Kendyl Taylor (5-10 202 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore)

Wide Receiver #2:

DiAndre Campbell (6-2 206 lbs; Senior)

John Ross III (5-11 179 lbs; Sophomore)

Brayden Lenius (6-5 217 lbs; Freshman)

 

Defense:

Defensive End:

Andrew Hudson (6-3 246 lbs; Senior)

Joe Mathis (6-2 250 lbs; Sophomore)

Will Dissly (6-4 273 lbs; Freshman)

Defensive Tackle:

Evan Hudson (6-6 273 lbs; Senior)

Taani Tupou (6-2 282 lbs; Junior)

Nose Tackle:

Danny Shelton (6-2 339 lbs; Senior)

Elijah Qualls (6-1 311 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Greg Gaines (6-1 321 lbs; Freshman)

 “Buck” End:

Hau’oli Kikaha (6-3 246 lbs; Senior)

Jarret Finau (6-3 261 lbs; Junior)

Psalm Wooching (6-4 225 lbs; Sophomore)

Outside Linebacker #1:

Travis Feeney (6-4 218 lbs; Junior)

Keishawn Bierria (6-1 221 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Middle Linebacker:

John Timu (6-1 246 lbs; Senior)

Scott Lawyer (6-2 225 lbs; Junior)

Azeem Victor (6-3 244 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Outside Linebacker #2:

Shaq Thompson (6-1 228 lbs; Junior)

Corey Littleton (6-3 229 lbs; Junior)

Sean Constantine (6-2 224 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Cornerback #1:

Marcus Peters (6-0 190 lbs; Junior)

Travell Dixon (6-1 195 lbs; Senior) –OR-

Naijel Hale (5-10 171 lbs; Freshman)

Cornerback #2:

Jermaine Kelly (6-1 190 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Sidney Jones (6-0 171 lbs; Freshman)

Darren Gardenhire (5-11 173 lbs; Freshman)

Free Safety:

Kevin King (6-3 183 lbs; Sophomore)

Trevor Walker (5-11 186 lbs; Sophomore)

Strong Safety:

Budda Baker (5-10 173 lbs; Freshman)

Brandon Beaver (6-0 192 lbs; Sophomore)

 

Special Teams:

Punter:

Korey Durkee (6-4 230 lbs; Junior)

Tristan Vizcaino (6-2 210 lbs; Freshman)

Kicker:

Cameron Van Winkle (5-10 180 lbs; Sophomore) –OR-

Tristan Vizcaino (6-2 210 lbs; Freshman)

Snapper:

Ryan Masel (6-1 199 lbs; Junior)

Evan Hudson (6-6 273 lbs; Senior)

Punt Return:

Dante Pettis (6-0 177 lbs; Freshman)

Jaydon Mickens (5-11 174 lbs; Junior)

Kick Return:

John Ross III (5-11 179 lbs; Sophomore)

Budda Baker (5-10 173 lbs; Freshman)

Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners Preview

Please don't cause us too much trouble.

Please don’t cause us too much trouble.

 

 

WHEN: 

            MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 AT 7:10PM PDT

            TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 AT 7:10PM PDT

            WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 AT 7:10 PDT

 

STARTING PITCHERS:

  9/8 –  B. PEACOCK, RHP (HOU)  VS. F. HERNANDEZ, RHP (SEA)

  9/9 –  C. McHUGH, RHP (HOU) VS. R. ELIAS, LHP (SEA)

  9/10 –  N. TROPEANO, RHP (HOU) VS. H. IWAKUMA, RHP (SEA)

 

LAST 10 GAMES:

Seattle: 6-4

Houston: 7-3

Jose Altuve the Baseball Elf and his band of misfits have been playing pests to a few teams in the playoff race as of late. They just took two of three from the A’s and just before that they swept the Angels in a two game series. They are a team that have surprised many and found a way to keep themselves out of the cellar (despite getting some help from the injury-wrought Rangers). Between Altuve’s all-star season and some timely hitting from the others, they have been quite helpful for the M’s. Unfortunately, it is Felix’s duty tonight to shut down the Astros and help keep us above the Royals and Tigers – who are beating each other up in a series themselves – so that we may continue our pursuit of Wild Card glory.

 

The M’s are currently in a position to usurp the A’s and possibly get the first AL Wild Card spot, now standing only 2 games behind. Winning at least two games here is crucial, but a sweep would be even bigger. Houston’s surprise ace Dallas Keuchel (who shut out the Mariners earlier this season) pitched yesterday thankfully, leaving us with the sub-par Peacock (5.01 ERA, 0.2 WAR), the pretty-decent McHugh (2.89 ERA, 2.9 WAR), and the freshly-called-up Tropeano. Not facing any lefties is going to be big for us in trying to pull off the sweep (though we do fare decently against them). The biggest challenge will likely be earning enough run support to ensure Elias can pull off a win as he has been especially shaky since the all-star break.

 

This is the final stretch and we need to try and navigate through these last twenty games if we want to see what the city hasn’t seen from the M’s in a long time. If you have a spare $15, make it down to a game! The atmosphere is something we are known for as Seattle fans and the guys need all the support they can get. It’s been an exciting, wild ride for this team and we have a good chance of making something of it.

 

Go Mariners.

RECAP: EWU vs. UW – The Montlake Shootout

Cyler Miles stiff-arms an Eastern Washington defender as he runs for one of his three rushing touchdowns.

Cyler Miles stiff-arms an Eastern Washington defender as he runs for one of his three rushing touchdowns.

Overall: The script was certainly flipped from last week in Hawaii when the Husky offense struggled and the defense won the game. Yesterday the defense was anemic and thankfully the Cyler Miles-led offense was able to put 59 points on the board and win the game. Overall I was impressed with the Husky offense, particularly Cyler’s command of the huddle and his poise at the line of scrimmage. It was encouraging to see the Husky offensive line dominate the line of scrimmage and establish the running game with running backs Lavon Coleman and Dwayne Washington. Defensively the game was a complete disaster. Although the Dawgs sacked Vernon Adams Jr. six times, the pass rush was relatively inconsistent throughout the game. The linebackers and secondary were exposed time and time again by the Eagle’s potent passing attack. Even more discouraging then the overall poor performance was the abundance of ill-timed penalties. The Husky defense committed three personal fouls that extended the Eagle’s drives and ultimately resulted in three touchdowns. At the end of the day a win is a win as cliché as it sounds; however, the Huskies have a lot to clean up before they enter conference play.

 

Offense:

Quarterbacks.

Husky Passing

Cyler Miles took a good first step yesterday in cementing himself as the quarterback of the future for the Washington Huskies. He completed a respectable 58% of his passes for 180 yards and a touchdown while avoiding any turnovers. That’s a decent stat line for his first game of the season; however, even more impressive was his overall command of the offense. The Huskies attack seemed more organized and efficient under the leadership of Miles. With that being said, he can certainly work on his passing consistency. It would be nice to get his completion percentage up in the sixties, as well as creating more explosive plays throwing the ball down the field.

Running Backs.

Husky Rushing

The Huskies leaned heavily on their running backs by calling a run play 70% of the time. Never underestimate the importance of establishing ground and pound football early in the season. Developing a good running game early on will certainly pay huge dividends later in the season. The Huskies rushing attack was once again led by Lavon Coleman and Dwayne Washington. Coleman was particularly impressive earning 6.9 yards per carry and a touchdown. The running game was also boosted by quarterback Cyler Miles who ran for three touchdowns. Also, Shaq Thompson made his running back debut short and sweet taking his third carry to the house from 57 yards out. Granted Eastern Washington doesn’t have a strong run defense, the Huskies still showed promise and depth at the running back position.

Offensive Line. The MVP of this game is the Huskies offensive line. They opened up holes allowing their running backs to rush for 361 yards on the day. Establishing the running game helped the Dawgs control the clock and time of possession; two extremely important factors in close ball games. On top of that, the offensive lineman kept Cyler Miles upright the entire game not allowing a single sack. The big boys up front set the tone early on and were ultimately the difference-makers of the game.

Wide Receivers & Tight Ends.

Husky Receiving

The receiving game was once again bolstered by the electrifying John Ross III. Ross III took a simple bubble screen 55-yards down the sideline for a touchdown. Kasen Williams also took another step in returning from his broken leg last season with more consistent play both receiving and blocking. Williams also had an impressive one handed catch in the end-zone to convert a critical two-point conversion. Junior WR, Jaydon Mickens returned to his usual self after a lack-luster performance last week in Hawaii. Also, Darrell Daniels showed flashes of the threat he can be from the tight end position.

 

Defense:

Husky Defense

Defensive Line. The defensive line came into this game with two things on their mind: containing and rushing Eastern’s prolific passer, Vernon Adams Jr. The defensive lineman struggled in the first half allowing Adams to use his legs to create explosive plays down the field. However, the second half effort was spearheaded by seniors Danny Shelton and Hau’oli Kikaha. Shelton has quickly grabbed the attention of the country with his 24 tackles and 6 sacks through the first two games. Overall, the line played well, but they need to work harder to provide a more consistent pass rush.

Linebackers. Shaq Thompson was the lone bright spot in the starting linebacker unit; he swarmed to the ball all day making a game-high 14 tackles. Outside of Thompson, the Husky linebackers struggled to tackle and cover consistently. Freshman Keishawn Bierria committed a personal foul on a critical third down that eventually led to Eastern’s first TD of the game while swinging momentum in the Eagle’s direction. However, the starting linebackers (Shaq, John Timu, and Travis Feeney) came up with a big turnover that secured the win for the Dawgs. Those three linebackers need to be more consistent and create more game-changing plays moving forward.

Secondary. Where to start? Yesterday was one of the worst defensive performances I can remember as a Husky fan. The young Husky secondary was exploited for 475 yards and 7 touchdowns by the Eagle’s veteran quarterback, Vernon Adams Jr. Youth and inexperience are no excuse for a performance of that nature; with that being said, Adams and the Eagle’s offense was pr0lific and deserve credit for their stellar performance. It was also disappointing to see Marcus Peters act the way he did. Peters consistently took his frustration out on his fellow teammates by yelling and cursing at the younger players. He then committed an idiotic personal foul penalty on third down that resulted in an Eastern Washington touchdown to take the lead. Coach Pete rightfully sat Peters on the bench for the remainder of the game; that kind of brainless and selfish attitude is not acceptable on the football field. Peters needs to make amends with his teammates and work hard on becoming a better player and leader in the Husky secondary.

 

Special Teams:

Punters.

Husky Punting

Korey Durkee was impressive once again in his second game as the Huskies punter. With the help of special teams demon, Budda Baker, he was able to pin the Eagles on their own 2-yard line. Durkee has shown power, accuracy, and touch throughout the first two games.

Kickers.

Husky Kicking

Cameron Van Winkle hit his only field goal attempt of the game from 37 yards out. He also shanked a PAT which is unacceptable in any game, nonetheless a close one. Luckily the Huskies converted a two-point conversion later in the game to make up for Van Winkle’s mistake. Freshman kicker Tristan Vizcaino had a busy day on kick-offs and handled his duties well.

Returners.

Husky Returning

Overall, the returners (John Ross III, Jaydon Mickens, Deontae Cooper, and Dante Pettis) performed well. I’m sure Husky Nation expected a little more explosion with the quantity of kickoffs; however, the kick return game was consistent and effective.