The 8th ranked University of Washington will try to complete its preseason to do lost list Saturday afternoon when they take on Portland State at 5 p.m. at Husky Stadium. The Huskies started the proverbial proverbial preseason with home wins against Rutgers ( 48-13) and Idaho ( 59-14).
The Huskies to do list is just about checked off except for that one last nagging item. For Washington, the unfinished business is the run game. The Huskies defense has been rock solid while the passing game has been prolific in the two non conference wins. The Husky defense has allowed just 27 points and is limiting opponents to 3.8 yards per play in the first two games.
Quarterback Jake Browning has been stellar in the two games, passing for eight touchdowns, 581 yards and throwing just one interception. The team has scored 127 points and allowed just 27 points.
That equates to a scoring average of 53.5 points s per game for the red hot Husky offense. While the offense is moving the ball up and down the field and scoring, there is that lingering question of whats wrong with the Husky running game.
The Huskies have been out rushed 217 yards to 247. Washington is averaging 108 yards a game and have scored just one rushing touchdown.
Last year Washington started off the season with a 13 to 16 loss at Boise State and in that game the Huskies rushed for 29 yards on 22 attempts. Washington invested in the rush in it’s next game against Sacramento State, and the result was a 49-0 win in which the ground game produce 218 yards on 36 attempts.
Husky nation was expecting a similar game plan this year after the Huskies thumped Rutgers 48-13 and Idaho was next on the schedule. What supposed to be a gold rush turned out to be another ariel attack as Jake Browning tied a school record for most touchdowns in a game with five. The Huskies managed just 126 rushing yards. Idaho had 104 .
Despite the subpar running numbers, Husky coach Chris Petersen is not concerned about his running game.
“It’s a fine line, we have to do what we have to do to score points you get these teams that are going to pack a lot in there ( line of scrimmage), and move guys around and line games, it’s going to take a minute to get into a rhythm to be able to do that,” Petersen said during his weekly press conference.
Gold rush or not, the Husky offense has an opportunity to kick start its running game against a Portland State team that have give up 533 rushing yards in its last two games. The Vikings beat Central Washington 43-26 and gave up 124 rushing yards to the Wildcats. In their 66 to 35 loss to San Jose State, Portland State gave up 409 rushing yards.
After Portland State, Washington will begin Pac 12 Conference play on the road at Arizona on September 24th. Washington will need a balance offense if it is to live up to preseason expectations.