No rest for the wicked.
Fresh off their season-opening win at Akron, it’s back to the grind on Monday for the Orange football team as “Beat U-Dub” week begins.
The dominating performance against the Zips has provided a lot of reason for optimism for Orange fans, but they’ll receive a much tougher test this Saturday when they travel to Washington.
Here are a few things the Orange will be sure to look for as they review film of Washington’s 23-17 loss to BYU this weekend.
Like Syracuse, Washington was pretty horrendous defending against the passing game last year, ranking 93rd nationally, yielding over 240 yards per game through the air.
Saturday didn’t provide much hope that this unit will be improved, as they allowed 262 yards and two touchdowns through the air against BYU.
The player to watch out for in this unit is sophomore cornerback Desmond Trufant, who was an All-Pac-10 honorable mention last season.
There’s some talent here, but there are also plenty of question marks.
Outside linebacker Mason Foster is likely a future pro, but they lost a lot of talent from last season, including San Diego Chargers draft pick Donald Butler.
Foster led the Huskies in tackles Saturday with 11.5, but was actually upstaged bit by senior linebacker Victor Aiyewa, who made nine stops, including a shared one for a loss and a forced fumble.
The defensive line is strong in the middle, with Cameron Elisara and Alameda Ta’amu. However, the ends are a major concern after losing sack artist Daniel Te’o-Nesheim.
The Huskies were 46th in sacks (2.25 a game) and 27th in tackles for a loss (6.67 a game) last season, but they didn’t manage a single sack against BYU.
They did record four tackles for a loss, though.
The offensive line is a potential question mark, but that didn’t appear to be the case Saturday, as it only yielded one sack and allowed the U-Dub running backs to have some success.
The star of Washington’s group of running backs and one of the best in the Pac-10 is sophomore Chris Polk, who broke the school record for rushing yards by a freshman last year with 1,113.
Polk carried the ball 16 times for 92 yards on Saturday. He also helped out as a receiver, catching one pass for 25 yards.
The Orange will also have to keep an eye on freshman back Jessie Callier, who only got two carries Saturday, but took one of them 39 yards.
Yes, Jake Locker: the man who spurned the opportunity to become a possible No. 1 draft pick to play savior to the Huskies as they attempt to get the program headed in the right direction.
What’s there to say about him at this point? He’s a terrific talent, who is more than capable of hurting teams both through the air and on the ground.
He’s a more polished Tim Tebow, just without the 10 NFL-caliber players surrounding him on offense.
Although he and the Huskies only managed 17 points against BYU, Locker threw for 266 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 29 yards and added another score on the ground.
The Washington offense is potent, but at the end of the day, if the Orange can contain Locker, they can win this game.
It might require scoring a lot of points against Washington’s mediocre defense, but it can be done.