Yachts swayed against the creaking docks of Lake Washington, sunshine poured down on the gold student body and the purple marching band, yet the 55,000 people at Husky Stadium last Saturday sat in silence, hearing only a whizzing football thudding into the opposing gloves and chest pads.
Washington escaped its season opener with a 30-27 win over Eastern Washington, allowing EWU's Bo Levi Mitchell to pass for 473 yards on 39 completions. Eastern exposed Washington's very young outside linebackers, carving up all coverage packages and withstanding any pass rush by throwing short, quick completions most of the day.
With pass-heavy Hawaii coming to Husky Stadium this Saturday, Washington fans hope this week's practices focus on stopping the same kind of aerial assault Eastern Washington employed. If the young Husky defense can adjust in Week 2, then a 2-0 start is within reach.
As part of an ongoing series this season, I'll consult NCAA Football 12 for a prediction of the upcoming Hawaii vs. Washington game.
First, a look at both team's in-game ratings:
- B+ Offense
- B Defense
- B+ Overall
- C+ Offense
- C+ Defense
- C+ Overall
Anyone who watched last weekend's games may disagree with Hawaii's relatively low ratings, as well as Washington's high overall grade, but the fine people at EA Sports know what they're doing.
This simulated game was pretty much over in the first half, with the Huskies scoring a whopping 28 points on the Warriors in the second quarter.
Cyber Keith Price threw for 282 yards and 3 TDs on 15-of-18 passing. The Huskies also got offensive production from players not named Polk or Kearse. Jesse Callier gained 81 yards on the ground, and Devin Aguilar caught five passes for 101 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Husky secondary kept the Hawaii passing game in check. Desmond Trufant and Nate Fellner each had interceptions, leading to second half scores.
By the end, Washington handled Hawaii 41-27.
Washington fans know that a second early-season victory would make a consecutive bowl berth that much more manageable during Pac-12 play.
The Huskies will need great play out of their secondary to stay in this one, as Hawaii's quarterback, Bryant Moniz, can beat teams through the air and with his feet. The Washington defensive line should stop the run like it did last week. If the Huskies can defend the pass, they win.
Returning cornerback Quinton Richardson should restore senior leadership in the secondary, and I think Moniz throws a couple of picks under the constant pressure in Seattle.
I'll say UW over Hawaii, 37-31.
XBox 360 Predictions this season: 1-0
Beswick Predictions this season: 1-0