Preview and Prediction: Eastern Washington Eagles vs. Washington Huskies

Cyler Miles uses his legs to escape the pocket and extend the play last season against UCLA.

Cyler Miles uses his legs to escape the pocket and extend the play last season against UCLA.

Game: Eastern Washington Eagles vs. Washington Huskies

Where: Seattle, WA

When: 12:00pm

Channel: PAC-12 Networks

Line: N/A

Game Storylines:

New Husky Quarterback, Cyler Miles, hopes to add a new dynamic to an otherwise stagnant Husky offense. After one game Jeff Lindquist is out, and Cyler Miles is in as the Huskies starting quarterback. Lindquist played with near perfection in the first two quarters before his colossal collapse in the second half. All of the offenses’ troubles should not be placed solely on him; however, Lindquist seemed rattled, nervous, and erratic, which are three undesirable traits of successful quarterbacks. Husky Nation now hopes that Cyler Miles can be the promising, ultra-talented, and composed QB we saw last season when he replaced an injured Keith Price. Miles brings superior football instincts and athleticism to the QB position and Coach Pete hopes that will boost a lack-luster offensive performance last week in Hawaii.

Washington’s young and inexperienced secondary will be tested against the pass-happy Eagles. Many fans will simply blow the Eastern Washington Eagles off as an inferior FCS team. I would urge those fans to review the last time these two teams met in Seattle. In 2011, the Eagles were on a game-winning drive before current Atlanta Falcons cornerback, Desmond Trufant, saved the day by intercepting a pass in the end-zone. Eastern Washington will be hungry to come back into Husky Stadium with revenge on their mind. The Eagle’s game plan this weekend won’t be much different than it was three years ago; relentlessly attack the young Husky secondary. The Eagles boast one of the most dynamic play-makers in FCS and perhaps FBS football this season in their QB, Vernon Adams Jr. He has always shown the ability to use his legs to extend plays, but he has also become a potent passing threat. The young Husky defensive backfield will have a tall order ahead of them this weekend.

Matchups:

Husky Preview

Quarterback. This was the most difficult position to analyze. Cyler Miles has shown flashes of being a special player; however, it is yet to be seen how he reacts as the true field general of the offense. With that being said, the edge here has to go to Eastern Washington’s Vernon Adams Jr. He was prolific last season completing 66% of his passes for 5,000 yards and 55 TDs while only throwing 15 interceptions. Early indications show that Adams Jr. is on pace to be even better this season.

Running Back. The Eagles had success last week with their senior running back, Mario Brown. Eastern Washington also has decent depth at the position with fellow senior, Quincy Forte. However; the Huskies have an even deeper pool of talent at the running back position. Dwayne Washington and Lavon Coleman carried the load last week and expect them to run with more efficiency this weekend. Also, expect seniors Deontae Cooper and Jesse Callier to get their carries as well. Edge here goes the superior athleticism of the Washington Huskies.

Wide Reveiver. This is also an interesting position group to analyze between the Eagles and Huskies due to their distinctly different offensive systems. The Eastern Washington receiving corps, led by Cory Mitchell and Shaq Hill, will certainly put up more gaudy statistics than their Husky counterparts in 2014; however, if the Huskies passed as much as the Eagles I would expect Jaydon Mickens, John Ross III, and Kasen Williams to have even more staggering stats. Essentially, the Huskies boast a better overall receiving corps even though the numbers may suggest otherwise. Edge Huskies.

Tight End. Neither team heavily utilizes their tight ends; with that being said, the Huskies get the edge here based off of size, athleticism, and blocking ability.

Offensive Line. The Huskies offensive line performed admirably last week against Hawaii. The big Dawgs up front are strong, athletic, and experienced which gains them the edge over a smaller and less experienced Eastern Washington offensive line. Edge goes to Washington here.

Defensive Line. Washington’s defensive line got off to a rough start last week against Joey Iosefa and Hawaii’s big offensive lineman. As the game progressed, the Huskies defensive front settled down and really played well. Once again, the depth and experience of this group earn the edge over smaller and less experienced Eastern Washington defensive line. Edge Huskies.

Linebackers. Shaq Thompson and John Timu welcome back a healthy Travis Feeney to round out the Huskies starting linebacker unit. Generally just saying those three names would earn the Huskies the edge here; however, I have been regularly disappointed by the Husky linebackers inability to make game-breaking plays. I understand that Shaq, Timu, and Feeney are good backers that are consistent tacklers, but when will they become the play-makers we all think they can be. When will they make their presence felt by getting an interception or forcing a fumble? Anyways, edge still goes to the consistent linebackers from Seattle.

Defensive Backfield. The Washington Husky secondary will surely be tested by Vernon Adams Jr. and his experienced wide receivers this weekend. The Eagles are going to make their plays against a young Husky defensive backfield led by Marcus Peters and Budda Baker. I am starting to sound like a broken record, but the tremendous athleticism and upside of the Husky players earn the edge here.

Special Teams. Eastern Washington has a true freshman kicker in Roldan Alcobendas, who performed admirably in his Eagles debut hitting five of the six field goals he attempted. The Eagles have also gotten solid play from punter, Jake Miller, and their returners, Mario Brown and Blair Bomber. The Washington Huskies answered all the questions the media had about their kicking game. Kicker Cameron Van Winkle was perfect on his only field goal try, and punter, Korey Durkee was the unsung hero of the game against Hawaii. Also, the Legion of Zoom was on full display as John Ross and Jaydon Mickens looked as electric as ever. Both teams have performed well on special teams, but the edge here goes to the Huskies thanks to the electrifying return game of John Ross III.

 

Prediction:

UW 34 Eagles 20. Cyler Miles’ athleticism and play-making ability will ultimately be the answer to the Husky’s offensive struggles from week one. Expect the offensive line and running backs, Dwayne Washington and Lavon Coleman, to carry momentum into this game after a solid showing last week. Vernon Adams Jr. and the Eagles’ offense will start off hot, but the Huskies defense will adjust and settle down to hold them to 20 points. The difference in this game will be sparked by a momentum changing kick return by none other than John Ross III.    

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