No. 8 UW opens 2017 season on road at Rutgers - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

No. 8 UW opens 2017 season on road at Rutgers

Courtesy: UW Athletics Courtesy: UW Athletics

By UW Athletics

THE GAME: The Washington football team opens the 2017 season Friday, Sept. 1, at Rutgers. The Huskies and Scarlet Knights will kick off at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT in a game that will air on FOX Sports 1 television. The Huskies, who went 12-2, won the Pac-12 Conference championship and earned a place in the College Football Playoff last season, enter the 2017 campaign ranked No. 8 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 and No. 7 in the USA Today coaches' poll. The Huskies will be opening against Rutgers for the second season in a row, having beaten the Scarlet Knights last season in Seattle in the first-ever meeting between the two. Following this Friday's game, the Huskies return home for their remaining non-conference games, Sept. 9 vs. Montana and Sept. 16 vs. Fresno State. Pac-12 play kicks off with back-to-back road games, Sept. 23 at Colorado and Sept. 30 at Oregon State.
 
SEASON OPENERS: Washington is 86-35-6 all-time in season openers, good for a mark of .701. Since 1989, Washington has posted an 16-11 record in season openers – 10-1 at home, 6-9 on the road, 0-1 neutral site. The UW began 2016 with a 48-13 win over Rutgers at Husky Stadium. The year before, the Huskies fell, 16-13, at Boise State. In 2014, the UW beat Hawai'i, 17-16, in Honolulu, while in 2013, Washington beat Boise State, 38-6, in the UW's return to newly renovated Husky Stadium. In 2012, the Huskies beat San Diego State, 21-12, at CenturyLink Field, and in 2011, the Huskies beat defending NCAA Division I FCS Champion Eastern Washington, 30-27, for the UW's first season-opening win since 2007. In the 26-season span dating back to 1989, the Huskies have opened vs. a ranked team 12 times (5-7): vs. No. 15 Stanford in 1993 (W, 31-14), at No. 17 USC in 1994 (L, 24-17), at No. 20 Arizona State in 1996 (L, 45-42), vs. No. 19 BYU in 1997 (W, 42-20) at No. 8 Arizona State in 1998 (W, 42-38), vs. No. 11 Michigan in 2001 (W, 23-18), at No. 12 Michigan in 2002 (L, 31-29), at No. 2 Ohio State in 2003 (L, 28-9), at No. 21 Oregon in 2008 (L, 44-10), vs. No. 11 LSU in 2009 (L, 31-23), vs. No. 19 Boise State in 2013 (W, 38-6), and at No. 23 Boise State in 2015 (L, 16-13)
 
TELEVISION: The Washington-Rutgers game will air live to a national audience on Fox Sports 1 with Gus Johnson (play-by-play), Joel Klatt (color) and Jenny Taft (sidelines) providing the commentary.
 
RADIO: The Washington IMG College Network, with its flagship station KOMO AM-1000 and FM-97.7, will carry the live broadcast of every football game on 17 Northwest radio stations. Longtime play-by-play man Bob Rondeau and color analyst Damon Huard are joined by sideline reporter Elise Woodward. The home broadcast of the game will also air on Sirius (84) and XM (84) satellite radio.
 
THE YOUNG AND THE OLD: Washington has been a notably and demonstrably young team the last couple of years and, while the Huskies have gotten distinctly more experienced across the board, the roster still skews towards youth. The 2017 roster includes 40 freshmen and 26 sophomores, compared to just 16 seniors and 27 juniors, meaning just under 61 percent of the players have three or more years of eligibility left. At the same time, Washington has 53 returning lettermen and, not counting specialists, 32 different Huskies have started at least one game during their career.
 
THE DEFENSE:  Washington's defense has been the strongest it has been in years in 2015 and again in 2016, once again leaving a standard for this season that will be a challenge to match. Last year, the Husky defense finished first in the Pac-12 in scoring defense, allowing just 248 points, or 17.7 per game, the best average by the UW since 1992 (12.3 per game). The Dawgs also led the conference in total defense (316.9 yards per game), passing defense (182.9), opponent first downs (246), third-down conversion defense (.306) and turnovers gained (33).
 
THE OFFENSE:  Washington had one of its most successful offensive seasons ever in 2016, scoring more points and more touchdowns than ever before – both by a wide margin. The Huskies notched 77 touchdowns, 13 more than the old record (64 in 2013) and scored 585 points, 93 more than the old standard (493 in 2013). The Huskies' 41.8 points per game were just one-tenth of a point shy of the school record (41.9 in 1991). The Dawgs also had their second-highest totals ever in both rushing yards (2,774) and passing yards (3,623).
 
HUSKIES IN THE EAST: Washington's trip to Rutgers will mark the Huskies' easternmost game in school history. While the Huskies have played a number of non-conference games at the home of Big Ten teams, Washington has played very few games in locations that can reasonably be considered the "East Coast." When the Huskies opened the 2007 season at Syracuse, it marked their easternmost road game ever to that point in time (it was the Dawgs' second trip to play the Orange as they also played there in 1977), as Syracuse is, in terms of its longitude, east of both Durham, N.C. (where the UW played Duke in 1973), and Miami, Fla. (where the Huskies have played vs. Miami and in the Orange Bowl game), the next two closest competitors for the Huskies' easternmost games of all time. Piscataway is about one-and-a-half degrees of longitude further east than Syracuse.
 
LAST YEAR VS. THE SCARLET KNIGHTS: Washington opened the 2016 season with its first-ever match-up with Rutgers last Sept. 3 at Husky Stadium, earning a 48-13 victory. Husky quarterback Jake Browning opened his record-setting season with a solid outing, completing 18-of-27 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns, while the Huskies got help on special teams in the form of a touchdown on a kickoff return from John Ross and another on a Dante Pettis punt return. For Ross, it was a fabulous debut after a year off due to injury as, along with that 92-yard kick return, he also scored on Browning passes of 38 and 50 yards. The Huskies scored 24 points in the first quarter to take what proved an insurmountable lead. Browning hit Chico McClatcher on a 43-yard toss for the first TD of the season to get things started. Defensively, the Huskies were led by 12 tackles from Keishawn Bierria and 11 from Azeem Victor.
 
HUSKIES vs. THE BIG TEN:  Washington holds a 47-44-2 record all-time vs. Big Ten opponents, a record that includes an 0-2 mark against Penn State (though the Nittany Lions were not members of the Big Ten at the time of their games against the UW) and 4-5-1 vs. Nebraska, also obviously not a Big Ten member at the time of any of those games. Washington has played all 12 current Big Ten teams but have faced an Big Ten opponent only five times since 2003 (the UW played Indiana in '03, Ohio State in '07, Illinois in 2013-14, and Rutgers last year). The Huskies have played Big Ten teams seven times in bowl games since 1990 (not counting Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl in 2010): Iowa in the 1990 Rose Bowl, Michigan in the 1992 and 1993 Rose Bowls, Iowa in the 1995 Sun Bowl, Michigan State in the 1997 Aloha Bowl, Purdue in the 2001 Rose Bowl and Purdue in the 2002 Sun Bowl. The Huskies went 4-3 in those games. Here's the UW's all-time record vs. current Big Ten teams: 7-4 vs. Illinois, 1-2 vs. Indiana, 3-3 vs. Iowa, 1-0 vs. Maryland, 5-7 vs. Michigan, 2-1 vs. Michigan State, 7-10 vs. Minnesota, 4-5-1 vs. Nebraska, 3-0 vs. Northwestern, 3-8 vs. Ohio State, 0-2 vs. Penn State, 7-2-1 vs. Purdue, 1-0 vs. Rutgers, 4-0 vs. Wisconsin.

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