Going into the season, we knew that the Huskies defense would be the heart and soul of this team. The major question going in, was if quarterback Jake Browning would take enough of a jump forward to bring the Huskies offense up to par with the defense. In the earlier going, that answer has to be yes (especially after putting up 44 points on the stout Stanford defense). The return of John Ross to the receiving core has certainly helped Browning in the deep ball this year, something that was definitely lacking last season. Look for a pro style offense from Chris Petersen and his staff. They love to keep the defense off balance with a heavy dose of both the run and passing attack. They like to go a few run plays in a row and look to hit you over the top with a play action on the next play.
Although they have a separate passing game coordinator, it’s head coach Chris Petersen who calls the plays for this Husky offense. Petersen is now in his third year as head coach of the Huskies and has seen an offense that has improved in every year. Last year, the team went through some growing pains with freshmen scattered across the unit, but that has paid off this year as the offense has seemingly caught up with the defense.
So far this year, the Huskies are averaging 45.4 points per game. The highest output came in week two to Idaho when they put up 59 points and the lowest output came in week four on the road in the overtime victory over Arizona where they put up 35 points. The attack has been a very balanced one so far. On the ground they average 199.2 yards per game and then through the air, Browning is putting up 241.8 yards per game.
While averaging 441 yards per game, they do so on almost seven yards per play. What really stands out to me are they conversion percentages. On third down plays, the Huskies are able to convert 48% of the time, while on fourth downs they have converted on 50% of their plays. In the redzone, they are just as impressive having scored on 18 of 21 trips to the redzone, with just two of those scores being field goals.
In last year’s matchup in Seattle, the Ducks held the Huskies to 385 total yards. The biggest culprit was Myles Gaskin with his 155 yards on 18 carries. The Ducks defense came up with a huge turnover on the last play of the game as they intercepted K.J. Carta-Samuels who was in for the injured Jake Browning.
Three players to watch:
Jake Browning, #3, sophomore QB, 6' 2", 209 lbs.
Browning in the early going of the season has made the jump into being one of the best quarterbacks in the conference. After four games he has 17 touchdowns to just two interceptions. For comparison sake, he had 16 touchdown passes all last season. Browning has also bumped up his completion percentage by seven percentage points.
John Ross, #1, junior wide receiver, 5' 11", 190 lbs.
Wide receiver Chico Mccatcher might have more yards than Ross, but Ross has become the big play threat for Browning in the early going. He’s got six touchdowns through the air and one on the ground while having a long reception for the year of 50. Ducks safeties have to be cognizant of Ross before he’s running by them.
Myles Gaskin #9, sophomore running back, 5’ 10”, 195 lbs.
Along with Lavon Coleman, Gaskin leads the Husky rushing attack. So far on the year he has 402 yards and four touchdowns. In the early going, his average per rush has gone down almost a whole yard since last season. He is a bruising rusher who will certainly be a challenge for the Ducks to tackle.