OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE
Quarterback JAKE BROWNING doesn't have a spectacular arm, but what makes him special is his toughness. He is never fazed by the rush—he just stands tall in the pocket and doesn't get rattled. His numbers declined last season, and there are some who question his upside, but he's got what it takes to lead a national championship team.... There's a lot of talent around him. Running back Myles Gaskin could have gone to the NFL, but he's back. They need to give him the ball more. In a loss to Stanford, the Huskies stopped giving him the ball late—that just can't happen. They also need to keep him in the game in passing situations. He's shown playmaking ability as a receiver out of the backfield and can add an extra dimension; I don't understand why he had fewer than 20 receptions each of the last two seasons.... The defense reminds me of the Seahawks' D: They play five defensive backs, and they play three deep on every down. Everyone knows what they're going to do and they still beat you. They lost their star nosetackle, Vita Vea, to the draft but this unit is so well-coached I'm not sure that they will miss a beat.
BY THE NUMBERS
Rushing TDs by Myles Gaskin last season, most by any power conference rusher.
Wins by the Huskies over the last two seasons, matching the most in any two-year stretch in school history.
In four years coach Chris Petersen has transformed the Huskies into a national power, and this season's team is his most talented yet.
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12-2 (PAC-12 CHAMPS)
For three straight seasons, Washington has led the Pac-12 in allowing the fewest total yards and points. The key to the D will once again be the secondary, which allowed only 10 TDs and has all five starters back. As hard as it is to imagine, it's possible that the unit will be even better. Cornerback Byron Murphy missed seven games with a broken foot last year, but in the six games he played he had three picks. He is at 100%, as is safety TAYLOR RAPP, who finished third on the team with 59 tackles, despite being slowed by injuries. Rapp and safety JoJo McIntosh give the Huskies the most intimidating safety duo in the conference—if not the country.
AUBURN (8) (AT ATLANTA) [KEY MATCHUP][SI RANKINGS]
STANFORD (12) [BIGGEST GAME][SI RANKINGS]
FRI., NOV. 23
@ WASHINGTON STATE [KEY MATCHUP][SI RANKINGS]